User Group survey claimed many customers were confused about SAP’s on-demand roadmap
SAP has shrugged off criticism that it has been slow to adopt cloud computing and not clearly articulated its on-demand roadmap.
Speaking to CBR at SAP TechEd/Sapphire Now being held in Madrid, Peter Lorenz, executive VP onDemand Solutions, said that while those accusations may have had some merit in the past, the company is very happy with its current approach.
SAP has come in for criticism from industry analysts and even its own user base over its cloud strategy. A recent survey by the UK & Ireland SAP User Group found that some (27%) SAP customers did not fully understand the company’s cloud platform and the benefits it could bring. More worryingly for the German software giant, 58% respondents said that cloud adoption was being slowed by a lack of clarity over SAP’s product roadmap.
"I think in the past that was a fair comment, but we’ve changed over the last year," Lorenz told CBR. "We’ve worked a lot over the last 12-18 months to make it clearer. You shouldn’t underestimate that [cloud] is a change, and it always takes time to recognise it and then act on it."
"I think it was important for SAP to understand what the differences are between the business we’ve been running very successfully for 30 years and what the new requirements for the new business are," he added. "There are new requirements and you have to comply with them. We know now where this thing is going and what it means, so the whole strategy has to be more than ‘Here’s a service’."
"There was a learning curve and we’ve been through the rough part of it and now see clearly what we can do with our customers," Lorenz added.
Lorenz also said he was happy with the uptake of Business ByDesign, the company’s on-demand platform. During the conference keynote, co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe said around 700 customers had signed up to it.
"We re-introduced Business ByDesign last August with version 2.5 and since then have put out 2.6 and 3.0 and will have 3.5 out in January, so we are good in terms of speed of delivery," he said. "From an adoption perspective since the last three quarters we’ve seen it picking up clearly so we’re reaching our goals this year and we’re happy with that. We expect a further uptake in the market next year."
SAP has made a number of announcements during the conference, including enhancements to its Business Suite platform, a new range of mobile apps from Sybase and new tools to help business process integration.
The company has also said that legal issues are hindering wider adoption of its Business ByDesign platform and that some company data is so valuable that it would be wrong to put it on mobile devices.