Resilience and the obligation to justify
In past years, it was a pathetic game: Our association DSAG demanded robust and verifiable roadmaps. SAP responded with PowerPoint presentations and annual outlooks - one as unhelpful as the other!
A colorful presentation is not a white paper. An editorial by Editor-in-Chief Färbinger is not a scientific paper. We at DSAG have never claimed that writing appropriate roadmaps for the SAP community is an easy finger exercise. But we transfer a lot of money to Walldorf, so we can demand something in return.
Flexibility to meet the challenges of professional life is important. We hope to achieve this resilience in our ERP systems through our work with support from SAP. Resilience is thus an important factor for the work of SAP's existing customers. Christian Klein should support us in this.
But we won't achieve resilience if SAP CEO Klein serves me something I know as little about as he does, and I can't locate these "stories" either. I am referring to Christian Klein's virtual Sapphire keynote:
Once again, a car is being sold and Klein takes us through the process of selection, production and delivery. As far as I'm informed, Klein has never been a car salesman. Who is he trying to impress with this story? I don't feel better or more resilient because Christian Klein thinks he knows how to sell cars.
Klein's Sapphire presentation lacks the duty to justify! Klein did not fulfill his obligation to tell us SAP customers why a fictitious car sale including a production process would better prepare us for the digital transformation.
Many good friends from Walldorf tell me that Christian Klein is very committed, intelligent and eager, but he has not provided any justification for his fictitious car story - apart from the fact, which is pleasing for SAP, that Porsche is now a technology partner of the ERP world market leader.
Begründungspflicht is a legal technical term and a bit awkward in its demand: Ultimately, it obliges a respondent to verify the statements made. What applies to judges and prosecutors ultimately also applies to journalists - dear Editor-in-Chief Färbinger - but also to CEOs and board spokespersons.
To date, SAP has not justified how they practically envision Suite 7 maintenance renewal after 2025, as there are no verified statements regarding AnyDB (except for an SAP service note stating that SAP will address the issue). So if SAP can't justify what will happen to DB2, Oracle and SQL Server licenses after 2025, our resilience will also be severely impacted.
Here we come full circle: annual outlooks and colorful PowerPoint roadmaps are no good for five-year planning! Our DSAG is right when it repeatedly calls for medium- and long-term perspectives, and SAP is off the mark with its one-year visions.
SAP's roadmaps and Sapphire talks are not a basis for planning for us existing customers. Resilience is not based on short-term thinking and amusing stories. Christian Klein has an SAP's duty to justify after years of growth and innovation - admittedly, no easy task to clean up after ex-CEO Bill McDermott. Professor Hasso Plattner hinted in an interview that a course correction is in order!
If Christian Klein were to orient himself to "resilience and the duty to justify" and enter into an open-ended discourse with us existing SAP customers, then I would see opportunities for a successful future in the SAP community even beyond 2025. The coming years will be a tough slog for all of us if we want to master the digital transformation with Hana and S/4.