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The new SAP

An almost completely renewed SAP presented itself in Potsdam in mid-February on the occasion of the opening of the Innovation Center. Professor Hasso Plattner was in high spirits and jovially dressed to explain his American view of design, GUI, manuals and programming.
Robert Korec, E-3 Magazine
27 February 2014
[shutterstock:469280870, Aun Photographer]
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

Already 16 years ago acquired Hasso Plattner the property at the Jungfernsee in Potsdam. This year was built there the youngest building of the SAP ceremonially opened. The Innovation Center is to SAP help not to lose the connection in the field of informatics.

The center is headed by Jürgen Müller and Jens Krüger. On about 5000 square meters of office space, 110 SAP employees and 28 students from 20 countries and about 18 different disciplines conduct research.

A second building is already being planned. Almost anything remotely related to information technology can be researched and tested there. The helplessness of the SAP to recognize:

A building was erected that shows a clear break with the successful past; but that does not counteract an independent character. The SAP Innovation Center is an inconsequential mixture of the office concepts of Google, Apple, Facebook and Yahoo.

Own ideas, unique selling propositions - how it is R/3 and ERP - are not to be found in the Innovation Center.

These deficits are Professor Hasso Plattner obviously aware of this. In Potsdam, he put a stop to the disastrous SAP a clear counterpoint!

In a good mood, with many anecdotes and dressed in a casual sweater with sneakers, he gave his opening speech. What he showed and said was clear:

He put the entire office complex in Walldorf as a mistake. Where the birthplace of the successful R/3, ERP and Business Suite, where SAP Hana is being developed, Plattner sees only mediocrity.

In his criticism, the SAP-co-founder and chairman of the supervisory board was not superficial - he condemned the architecture of Walldorfwhere small offices with a maximum of three workstations are also used for small-scale thinking and research.

He painted a grim picture of his former workplace. Here at the SAP Innovation Center and the nearby Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI), everything should now not only be better, but different.

In his great way of being able to tell stories and readily sharing his own experiences, Plattner reported on his numerous visits to the USA. In his opening speech, he focused on what he sees as the most serious drawback at the moment: the SAP Business Suite user interface, which is no longer up to date. The design no longer fits, said Professor Plattner.

And he promised in Potsdam that within a year there would be a new, better design at SAP will give. Plattner is not only a scientist, but also a practitioner.

His description of what constitutes good design was thus enthusiastically received: How is a pizza made in Plattner's house? He uses an American microwave oven for this purpose, which corresponds to the design ideas of the SAPco-founder. The device has exactly one button, which Plattner presses until the pizza is crispy and tasty.

This lively description of a cooking process received much applause. To be fair, it has to be said that in Europe, the preparation of a pizza is naturally understood to be something different and probably a ERP-program is more complex than a pizza dough.

But simple design, without studying manuals, is the new annual goal at SAP: Proclaimed and launched by Hasso Plattner.

The SAP-Existing customers are sure to be delighted by the new simplicity of a stringent design. And everyone will agree with Plattner that studying thick instruction manuals is a thing of the past.

Thus, the SAP-users are also likely to have many and expensive SAP-can save on training if the software is made from Walldorf finally becomes intuitively operable. According to statements by Hasso Plattner be to the point where voluminous manuals and time-consuming training are no longer necessary.

With this innovative approach, the SAP-co-founder naturally also contributes to the financial relief of existing customers. Training and continuing education are in the SAPenvironment is not only very expensive, but also time-consuming. So, under Plattner's leadership, there will soon be a new SAP give

Also on the prevailing programming model and the development of the SAP-Software has Hasso Plattner obviously had his doubts. In Potsdam, he made a massive call for object-oriented programming to be taken into account (see also E-3 cover story in this issue). With ABAP Object has SAP about an excellent platform.

If one believes the words of the chairman of the supervisory board, then obviously this programming paradigm is used too weakly. But because ABAP Objects has been available for many years, it is likely that the new SAP will soon be able to show results.

How the repositioned and repositioned SAP will be in the future was also visually demonstrated by Professor Plattner during his opening speech: Most of those present came in the familiar dark business suits with white shirt and tie.

Plattner came in sneakers and a casual sweater! In passing, the professor, who has numerous expensive cars in his house in Potsdam, said that he had left his jacket in a corner the night before and that it was completely wrinkled the next day.

A fresh jacket was obviously not within reach, so a blue sweater and comfortable sneakers joined the white shirt.

Obviously wants Hasso Plattner the new SAP not only represented by the personal style of dress, but also in new manners and places. For Palo Alto, USA, Plattner, together with his Chief Technology Officer Vishal Sikka, plans to develop a SAP-Café to open.

This public café is intended to serve as a meeting place for SAP-interested and Start-ups exist, of which there are obviously enough in Silicon Valley. Especially young entrepreneurs with innovative ideas want SAP even more strongly and come into contact with them through facilities such as a café.

With regard to new building concepts and meeting places, Plattner mentioned the Microsoft Campus in Seattle as a model in his opening speech. As he also mentioned the policy of Microsoft in terms of innovation and collaboration with Start-ups emphasized as a positive example.

In general, he acknowledged the promotion of innovative ideas by private individuals and investors: He sees the power and supremacy of Silicon Valley, among other things, in the fact that many have made a lot of money there and are reinvesting it today: a positive cycle - without any government help at all!

Another important aspect about the new SAP Plattner revealed in the subsequent discussion round: he compared SAP with a tanker on the sea. Which successfully pulls its tracks, but is also cumbersome.

Once in motion, sudden maneuvers are hardly possible. Impressively, he described a personal encounter with such an ocean giant while in a small fishing boat.

These open words are intended to all Start-ups and warn newcomers, SAP to get too close and the Walldorf business strategy to intersect. The two founders present confirmed this scenario: a start-up CEO from California and one from Berlin left and right of Hasso Plattner on stage during the discussion are with SAP still in business.

Another entrepreneur was less fortunate: about two years ago, he showed SAP the idea of a development platform based on Hana. A short time later took over SAP the idea and programmed it himself.

Today, this young entrepreneur works as an employee at another company. The new SAP will act strongly, purposefully, but also to its own advantage like an ocean giant.

On the sidelines of the opening ceremony, a SAP-partner that he is working with a Hana-project against the colleagues from SAP-Consulting from Walldorf because they offered a much cheaper solution on the old BWA (Business Warehouse Accelerator). Ocean giants are also pragmatic!

Congratulations? Hasso Plattner announced many months ago not only that he would prefer to keep employees in Walldorf to make them move faster - now, on the occasion of the opening of the Innovation Center in Potsdam, he has also precisely pointed out the path along which SAP will move. The structural and conceptual design in Walldorf is outdated.

Object-oriented Programming is the order of the day. New design solutions (GUI) will already be the SAP-The new style is cheerful and casual. The new style is cheerful and casual: people wear sneakers and sweaters, play foosball in colorful lounges, and go out for a change of pace. SAP-Café.

Robert Korec, E-3 Magazine

Robert Korec, Editorial Management E-3 Magazine Print D-A-CH (until end of 2018), AG, Munich, Germany.

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