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Relationship Management

A message in a bottle is the ultimate in anachronism in our information and communication society. It is neither "realtime" like Hana nor interactive like Fiori.
Peter M. Färbinger, E3 Magazine
June 4, 2020
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

Dear Hasso Plattner, I am writing you a letter and sending it as a message in a bottle. Luck has always been with me in the SAP community, so I hope that this message, too, will eventually reach you in a safe place. Sending a message in a bottle to an enthusiastic sailor seems logical to me.

Whether Bill McDermott has also retreated to a Caribbean island near you for shelter and rest, I don't know - but it would be a tradition. Not only in the U.S. ski resort of Aspen, where you own two houses, but also in your home in the Caribbean, you have often talked.

Bill no longer works for SAP, although he still gets a lot of money from you, that's just the way modern managerial contracts are, but that's another story. I'm writing you this message in a bottle from a bygone IT era, when hardware still drove the business.

You know this era well. There are three examples in my archives from that time: Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), Compaq and Apple. The PC shooting star Compaq bought the struggling minicomputer pioneer DEC and both together were taken over by HP.

Ultimately, the golden decades of hardware manufacturers came to an end. Apple and a few others managed the metamorphosis into software and service providers. Apple still sells a lot of hardware, but software is the differentiator.

The cartoon by Robert Platzgummer (1975 to 2016) was first published in the E-3 October 2013 issue. Back then, Hasso Plattner and Bill McDermott were one heart and soul and very relaxed.

With ERP software, SAP not only differentiated itself from the competition, but also established a new type of relationship management. Intellectual property was not an issue between existing customers, partners and SAP. Intellectual property was owned by the growing SAP community.

The common was stronger than the separating. Everyone knew their place, their responsibilities and their tasks. Today, however, coopetition or cooperation competition prevails and existing customers are looking anxiously to the future.

Relationship management between partners, customers and your SAP is in disarray. The move to the cloud is only partially working. You find yourself competing for cooperation with loyal companions.

The relationship with partners like Oracle and IBM is diffuse. What will become of Suite 7 users by 2030 who work on Oracle? What about Hana and the powerful on-prem solution IBM Power?

There are many questions from the SAP community for you and Bill McDermott's successors. After hardware came standard software in your own data center, now many are focused on the cloud.

What comes after cloud computing is uncertain. Whether there will be an agreement between SAP and Oracle regarding Business Suite 7 is uncertain. What the world will look like in a year's time and which island you will be on then is uncertain.

Honest relationship management would be the only constant and necessary condition for a successful SAP community.

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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Work on SAP Basis is crucial for successful S/4 conversion. This gives the so-called Competence Center strategic importance among SAP's existing customers. Regardless of the operating model of an S/4 Hana, topics such as automation, monitoring, security, application lifecycle management, and data management are the basis for the operative S/4 operation. For the second time already, E3 Magazine is hosting a summit in Salzburg for the SAP community to get comprehensive information on all aspects of S/4 Hana groundwork. With an exhibition, expert presentations, and plenty to talk about, we again expect numerous existing customers, partners, and experts in Salzburg. E3 Magazine invites you to Salzburg for learning and exchange of ideas on June 5 and 6, 2024.


Event Room, FourSide Hotel Salzburg,
At the exhibition center 2,
A-5020 Salzburg

Event date

June 5 and 6, 2024


Early Bird Ticket - Available until 29.03.2024
EUR 440 excl. VAT
Regular ticket
EUR 590 excl. VAT

Secure your Early Bird ticket now!


Event Room, Hotel Hilton Heidelberg,
Kurfürstenanlage 1,
69115 Heidelberg

Event date

28 and 29 February 2024


Regular ticket
EUR 590 excl. VAT
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.