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From Simple to Intelligent

After "Run Simple" comes the "Intelligent Enterprise. It is to be feared that SAP will continue the roadmap of buzzwords. But then there was the DSAG keynote by Christian Klein.
Peter M. Färbinger, E3 Magazine
December 3, 2020
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

Ex-SAP CEO Bill McDermott has repeated his favorite saying so often that now everyone in the SAP community really does know "Run Simple. It is no longer possible to evaluate whether this SAP buzzword was his own invention or whether the English comedians Monty Python were used. The buzzword is losing its appeal, and Bill McDermott no longer works for SAP.

A very young squad, consisting of the board members Christian Klein, Jürgen Müller and Thomas Saueressig, has inherited this buzzword as well as many other construction sites. Of course, these three SAP musketeers are figuratively trying to put a simple run, or rather a simple roadmap, on the smooth IT parquet. SAP is not complicated, at best it's complex, right? Simplification, consolidation and integration of all ideas and wishes was and is therefore desirable. An agile and simple ERP system is thus in the interest of all existing SAP customers.

By their very nature, unadorned simplicity and reduction to the essentials can only be achieved after long meditation. The looming release changes for Hana and S/4 hardly leave enough interim time for contemplation and reflection. "Run Simple" thus remains as a metaphor in the SAP cloud. Many existing SAP customers are happy when the system runs - whether simple, noisy, or with steadily rising license costs.

Because despite all the efforts and borrowings from Monty Python, "Run Simple" did not produce simple roadmaps, a new buzzword had to calm the frightened SAP customers: Intelligent Enterprise. What was previously simple, basic and stupid is now to become intelligent. Not the software will become error-free, the support more courteous, the price list more comprehensible and the statements of the board more concrete - no, the entire enterprise is to become more intelligent - by magic? Perhaps the "simple run" will turn into an incantation dance (see picture above) and SAP's ERP will transform into pure intelligence.

It is likely that the Intelligent Enterprise will remain a mirage, just as the "Run Simple" is not a viable roadmap. Buzzwords determine the course of IT history. But there are exceptions: DSAG keynote by SAP CEO Christian Klein from mid-October this year!

SAP CEO Christian Klein presented a vision that is neither a "run simple" nor needs the epithet "intelligent". His vision shines crystal clear and stringent at the same time: a combination of "back to the source" and integration beyond the box. That's a very smart plan! SAP's strength came from the idea of integration, from the single point of truth, from a central database where every document can be found.

First R/2, later R/3 application modules, and today numerous cloud and on-prem apps based around Hana, gathered around these databases. SAP integrated what was clever and usable into the "black box" R/3. The necessary integration resulted from the ERP design. Relationships with the outside world were only rudimentary and necessary at that time.

Christian Klein wants to fill this automated integration idea with life again. During his DSAG keynote this year, Christian Klein announced that he wants to go even further along this integration path: In the future, non-SAP products and the acquisitions will also be integrated into SAP's ERP, so that the user will find an end-to-end relationship in every case. Integration based on an SAP system should thus extend across the entire IT infrastructure. Then "Run Simple" might really be true, when the user operates SAP and non-SAP apps in an integrated, end-to-end process.

Peter M. Färbinger, E3 Magazine

Peter M. Färbinger, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief E3 Magazine DE, US and ES (, AG, Freilassing (DE), E-Mail: 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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