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Walldorf, we have a problem

In the new year, there are to be three Sapphires as face-to-face events: Orlando, Barcelona and São Paulo. That's good, but we need answers from existing SAP customers now, not in May and June 2023. The stakes are high.
March 1, 2023
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

Cloud only?

Shortly before Christmas, there was a discussion in the office corridors in Walldorf about S/4 code splitting. The discourse arose from the topos "cloud only". Christian Klein and Thomas Saueressig tried to relativize the fixed cloud scheme to the German-speaking SAP community with a hybrid approach and a verbal commitment to on-premises - the two board members were not very convincing.

To this day, the question has not been clarified in the SAP community as to whether SAP is pushing the fixed image of "cloud only" computing out of inner conviction or in reaction to the hyperscalers including Oracle. Now, the exit strategy of an S/4 code split was discussed at SAP headquarters at the turn of the year. The discourse is not yet far advanced and perhaps it will never reach the SAP community, but such considerations are not new: Already during the transition from SAP R/2 to R/3, it was under discussion that a separate development company would be set up for the large chemical and pharmaceutical industry to further develop the R/2 code for the IBM mainframes, while the new R/3 would be customized for the emerging client/server systems. As we know, things turned out differently.

S/4 code splitting into on-premises and "cloud only" can be successful, but it would create two SAPs. Both sides of a coin can become successful, but hybrid ERP landscapes will then no longer exist. Groups like us will obviously opt for on-premises because we have the resources and expertise in my department. New customers will prefer cloud computing because it is the easiest entry into the SAP universe.

Paradigms are changing and one of my favorite authors, Professor Henrik Müller from the Technical University of Dortmund, put it in a nutshell once again: Davos Man is threatened with extinction. Don't draw the wrong conclusions - Christian Klein is still alive, he took the train to the World Economic Summit in Davos this year. The conversations in Davos with other CEOs were enlightening. But why an entire SAP House has to be set up at a dying event is beyond me. Is SAP riding a dead horse in Davos?

The late Harvard political scientist Samuel Phillips Huntington popularized the term "Davos Man" in 2004 when he described a new elite of globalization disciples. Henrik Müller wrote in Manager Magazin: "In such tense times, a trip to Davos is difficult to communicate to voters at home as well as to employees and shareholders. Saving the world for a change - and emphasizing one's own importance along the way - is clearly no longer a sufficient reason for many to travel when the hut is burning elsewhere." Of the seven leading industrial nations, only our German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was in Davos with a large entourage.

I hope that Christian Klein found many insights in Davos, because we existing customers want to know what the strategic future holds for SAP. Professor Hasso Plattner has only one year left as Chairman of the Supervisory Board. Luka Mucic, the long-serving and successful Chief Financial Officer, will be leaving the Group in a few weeks. His successor, Dominik Asam, is already being showered with praise. But from my perspective, he doesn't fit in one bit with the current Board of Management. He will be a successful successor to Mucic. But I dare to doubt whether all the known board members will still be there at the end of this year.

The fact is that Sabine Bendiek is on a par with Dominik Asam in terms of management experience. However, I see major deficits in the "SAP only" careers of Christian Klein, Thomas Saueressig and Jürgen Müller. The three young board members will quickly be thwarted by the well-traveled and experienced Asam. It will be exciting to observe the group dynamics of the SAP Executive Board. There will hardly be any external corrective, because Hasso Plattner and Gerd Oswald will be busy searching for and enthroning a new chairman of the Supervisory Board.


Our mysterious, anonymous columnist.

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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


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

Event date

June 5 and 6, 2024

Regular ticket:

€ 590 excl. VAT


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.