SAPPHIRE NOW 2018 Observations

June 8, 2018 | Shawn du Plessis | Vice President, Global SAP Support Services

Kicking off the week of SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando, Bill McDermott, SAP CEO, took the stage with his usual high-energy, motivational presentation. His main purpose may have been just to get the crowd pumped up and excited, but day one’s keynote was missing the big bang factor of recent years. However, some of the customers in the room did gain a clearer idea of SAP product direction.

Roadmap for next-generation SAP Intelligent Suite:

C/4HANA Announcement

SAP’s biggest announcement was the release of C/4HANA. SAP is determined to grow their CRM market share and appears to be taking Salesforce head-on with heavy investment in this area. The new SAP CRM will be promoted as a relationship builder between the customer and the business. The CRM product is a new hybrid CRM system that integrates functionality gained from acquisitions such as Hybris, Gigya, Callidus Cloud, and CoreSystems. SAP is banking on competitive differentiation from their “one customer view,” where McDermott states that CRM systems must most move away from a 360-degree view of sales automation and focus on the 360-degree view of the actual customer.

The SAP Phrase of the Day

In SAP’s attempt to lighten the mood of the audience, it was mentioned several times during the rollout of C/4HANA, “Don’t be creepy.” This statement is intended to address concerns related to data privacy and sharing of personal and sensitive data. All software vendors must focus on retaining or regaining customer trust after the recent findings of how FaceBook and Google use such data.

Takeaways

It is clear at this show that the innovation plans of many SAP customers are aligned with SAP’s long-term product vision. However, the customer’s immediate plans and business needs aren’t necessarily being met.

SAP customers have expressed frustration with SAP-provided support, sharing with us several major pain points.

  • SAP support services have been downgraded or stripped away yet annual maintenance fees have steadily increased.
  • Self-support tools have replaced people as the primary means for investigating and resolving application issues. When a person is eventually accessed, their expertise level is much shallower than ever before, and they are often unfamiliar with the customer’s application and technology stack environment.
  • Some SAP customers feel trapped in SAP’s product roadmap and are looking for freedom to choose alternate or hybrid paths of innovation – or at least not be pushed to premature cloud and next-generation solutions. They have simply not been able or willing to keep up with the constant push by SAP to upgrade, migrate, and innovate now.

Conclusion

Nothing we have seen from SAP at SAPPHIRE this week sufficiently remedies the pain points described above and they will continue to act as primary drivers of third-party SAP support growth. Our customers get superior service from engineers with deep SAP expertise for a fraction of the cost. Their applications remain high-performing, secure, and interoperable. They redirect the savings to help fund strategic and transformational initiatives. In a nutshell, we enable them to retake control of their application roadmap.  Learn more about our SAP support services.

2018-11-05T12:58:09+00:00

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