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Something missing here

SAP CEO Christian Klein said he wants to consolidate SAP. The ERP world market leader should concentrate on the essentials - someone has tried that before him.
Peter M. Färbinger, E3 Magazine
April 12, 2023
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

The whole does not yet have a head

The targeted consolidation seems to be more of a sorting out than a repairing of old construction sites. Anything that does not generate a clear double-digit contribution margin will be eliminated. The rest will be given another chance. Ex-SAP CEO Léo Apotheker took a similar approach many years ago. Personally, he was successful: He had to leave SAP and got an even better-paid job at Hewlett-Packard. He left behind a bloodbath in the SAP community. His concept lacked non-financial assets. It lacked a meta-level that was supposed to give the whole thing a foothold. The head was missing from his construct.

Something similar now seems to be happening to SAP CEO Christian Klein. His actions are characterized by actionism. He has many good ideas, but even his concepts seem to lack an overarching concept. The head of the matter is not there. SAP lurches from one good idea to the next without strategy or vision.

Indeed, it is not easy to lead the ERP world market leader with a steady hand through the IT disruptions. Even before Christian Klein, ex-Co-CEOs Jim Hagemann Snabe and Bill McDermott tried to give the company a meaningful direction and strategy. In the end, Snabe and McDermott also had to admit that they had a lot of good ideas, but failed to come up with a consistent solution. Professor Hasso Plattner was not dissatisfied with the work of the co-CEOs, but a holistic picture did not emerge, see illustration.

Now SAP is again at a turning point and would need a stringent and consistent response to the numerous challenges. Head down, Christian Klein probably thought, and plans to sell Qualtrics and withdraw the ambitious C/4 Hana plans. CRM no longer appears as a strategic product; the new focus is on logistics and supply chain planning. But because CRM was once an integral part of SAP's universe, the user association DSAG is already worried about the functionality of the overall system.

Without CRM, something is missing from the ERP orchestra. ERP and SCM are a good combination. But without CRM and with a weak HCM, the SAP system is missing essential components. The whole thing does not yet have a head.

Platzgummer November 2010
The cartoon by Robert Platzgummer (1975 to 2016) was first published in the E-3 issue November 2010. Ex-SAP co-CEOs Jim Hagemann Snabe and Bill McDermott already had considerable problems with SAP Business Suite 7 and were criticized by Professor Hasso Plattner.

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. 

This gives the Competence Center strategic importance for existing SAP customers. Regardless of the S/4 Hana operating model, topics such as Automation, Monitoring, Security, Application Lifecycle Management and Data Management the basis for S/4 operations.

For the second time, E3 magazine is organizing a summit for the SAP community in Salzburg to provide comprehensive information on all aspects of S/4 Hana groundwork. All information about the event can be found here:

SAP Competence Center Summit 2024


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June 5 and 6, 2024

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Event Room, Hotel Hilton Heidelberg,
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28 and 29 February 2024


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The organizer is the E3 magazine of the publishing house AG. The presentations will be accompanied by an exhibition of selected SAP partners. The ticket price includes the attendance of all lectures of the Steampunk and BTP Summit 2024, the visit of the exhibition area, the participation in the evening event as well as the catering during the official program. The lecture program and the list of exhibitors and sponsors (SAP partners) will be published on this website in due time.