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DSAG versus SAP

For the DSAG user association, there should soon be Machine Integration and Business Intelligence, while AI and intelligent networks are only in the distant future. SAP's plans are diametrically opposed to this. A discourse from the DSAG Technology Days 2022 from Düsseldorf.
Peter M. Färbinger, E3 Magazine
July 8, 2022
DSAG versus SAP
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This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

The gap between DSAG and SAP is widening, and the mutual lack of understanding is deepening. Without sarcasm or irony, they talk past each other. The situation is similar to an old married couple that has said everything to each other and is now letting things go: Many years ago, SAP proclaimed the "Intelligent Enterprise", thus Hana and S/4 should get a raison d'être. All members of the SAP community know it didn't work. Last year, SAP CEO Christian Klein tried Rise to finally anchor S/4 with existing customers.

What did Sebastian Westphal, DSAG Board Member Technology, do on stage at the Technology Days 2022 in Düsseldorf? He took the old Leonardo topics of Machine Integration and Business Intelligence out of mothballs and presented it as "Intelligent Enterprise" with the addition of "Coming soon", see photo. Shortly after Sebastian Westphal, SAP Chief Technology Officer Jürgen Müller came on stage and explained: "SAP has the broadest product portfolio in the market and we have over 440,000 customers in the cloud. The use of our cloud products is growing very strongly."

SAP Chief Technology Officer Jürgen Müller
SAP Chief Technology Officer Jürgen Müller naturally emphasized the importance of the Business Technology Platform for the path to the cloud.

However, the user association believes: With its cloud-first strategy, SAP has imposed an extensive transformation program on itself. It is not only a matter of establishing the new platforms and services, but also of aligning the product portfolio accordingly. In doing so, SAP is addressing the core requirements of the digital transformation, because without a connection to the networked world, small and medium-sized companies in particular run the risk of losing touch with the competition in the long term.

Sebastian Westphal from the stage in Düsseldorf: "SAP has set itself a very significant transformation program. The cloud is right and important, but it is not the only option. Today's networked reality cannot exist on an R/3, but cloud only is definitely not an option for all existing SAP customers. The path to the cloud will be a hybrid one." However, it would be helpful to have a central solution for connecting legacy systems during successive migration to the cloud, for example by expanding the API business hub. "All in all, companies will only be able to increase their adoption of cloud services if they can enter the cloud by means of hybrid architectures," Sebastian Westphal emphasized several times. 

Sebastian Westphal, DSAG Board Member
Sebastian Westphal, DSAG Board Member for Technology, presented a roadmap from a user perspective based on Star Wars episodes.

Jürgen Müller is aware of the challenges and defined in Düsseldorf: "In ERP in particular, it's critical to get to faster innovation cycles - but it's also harder there than in other areas because it's so close to companies' core processes. That's exactly why we designed Rise with SAP: to make the transition even easier. There are definitely still construction sites, but we are on a good path here."

The current lack of communication between SAP and DSAG leads to the interesting constellation, both parties are ultimately right in their own way. Jürgen Müller addressed the topic of BTP, Business Technology Platform, on stage at the DSAG Technology Days: "We make more than one billion euros in sales with the Business Technology Platform. We cover certain needs very well. To achieve this, we had to spend a good year on performance. The most important features were implemented, but by no means everything that existing customers wanted. I also have to say that we didn't do a very good job of communicating our efforts. We don't have to hide for that either, but we'll take that with us for the future, that we communicate that better."

ALM and SolMan

With the free-tier offer for the BTP, i.e. being able to use cloud services free of charge for a certain period of time, SAP is supporting the announced transformation to a cloud provider. A free tier for all cloud services would accelerate the adaptation of the cloud just as much as on- and off-boarding of all services within a few minutes. The same applies to the operation of SAP cloud services. Here, global, transparent and universal application lifecycle management (ALM) for the orchestration of hybrid system architectures, which has so far been carried out for the on-premises systems via SolMan, would further increase the adaptation of cloud solutions.

"If we want to continue to drive cloud adoption, then switchover and migration is a very essential issue"Sebastian Westphal, DSAG Board Member for Technology, is convinced. "Companies have built their system landscapes over decades in some cases, and they need to find an easy way to lift them into the cloud. Integration is also a key factor in readiness to move to the cloud. If I go to the cloud, I need a variety of new tools - and employees who are proficient in these tools. Know-how development must be further supported here. We need a way to deploy the new products without losing the previous investments."

There is also praise from the user association DSAG: "SAP's offering is already moving in the right direction, but we also see that it still needs some preliminary work, so it's not moving quite as quickly as some existing SAP customers would like."explained Sebastian Westphal in Düsseldorf. "If we want to increase the rate of cloud adoption, as an application company we would like to see even more flexibility and cloud metrics that don't stop at the line-of-business boundaries."

Clear answers are needed to facilitate the change. And cost-effectiveness based on previous solutions also plays an important role. "Due to the usually high investments in existing products, it is important to find a way to be able to move to the cloud without completely writing off the (on-premises) investments made so far"Sebastian Westphal explained in Düsseldorf. 

Hybrid solutions

During the DSAG keynotes by Christine Grimm, Sebastian Westphal and Jürgen Müller, it could be heard that things are not moving quite so quickly in the direction of "cloud only", but more in the direction of hybrid cloud. For existing customers, this raises the question of how such a hybrid model would look in terms of price if two or more solutions are to be operated in parallel. SAP Chief Technology Officer Jürgen Müller: "We have a dual license in various areas. For example, you still take your on-prem analytics solution with you, but you already use the SAP Analytics Cloud. Here you don't have all users twice, but for example half/half and then you also have a swap license with which you can then switch completely to the cloud." DSAG board member Westphal adds in an interview with E-3 Magazine: "If we want to accelerate the move to the cloud, this is a very critical point. A business case cannot be based on duplicate costs. Commercial value is an important topic that we also discuss a lot in the working groups."

Christine Grimm, DSAG Board Member
DSAG Chief Transformation Officer, Christine Grimm, promoted sustainable and hybrid conversion for Hana and S/4.

SAP Analytics Cloud

DSAG member companies expect a cloud provider to be customer-centric and agile, with correspondingly short cycles and a clear product strategy and roadmap. "Especially for the SAP Analytics Cloud, the competitive pressure is continuously increasing. What is needed here is a comprehensible platform strategy that is not only supported by products or features, but also by integration as a long-standing trademark of SAP".Sebastian Westphal summarized.

In concrete terms, this means that analytics applications must be based on strong integration between SAP and non-SAP, both in the cloud and on-premises. Because: "Customers' first cloud scenario will always be hybrid"Sebastian Westphal is convinced. In this context, a more adaptive pricing model would make sense for medium-sized companies and for classic usage scenarios such as occasional users. Because the common named-
user model is making a positive business case increasingly difficult for many companies. At the DSAG Technology Days as well, the topic of SAP licenses hotly debated again.

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Peter M. Färbinger, E3 Magazine

Peter M. Färbinger, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief E3 Magazine DE, US and ES (e3mag.com), B4Bmedia.net AG, Freilassing (DE), E-Mail: pmf@b4bmedia.net and Tel. +49(0)8654/77130-21


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Working on the SAP basis is crucial for successful S/4 conversion. 

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