SAP users struggling to keep pace

SAP’s commitment to introducing new technologies and innovations has seen products and initiatives come to market at a rate of knots. Keeping pace with the breakneck speed of SAP’s innovations has proved a challenge for many.

In research from the UK & Ireland SAP User Group, 74% of members said SAP is bringing innovations to market quicker than their organisational ability to adopt. Further, recent announcements from SAP on S/4 HANA and its on-going commitment to cloud indicate that the pace will not be slowing down any time soon.

For customers, it may seem daunting to adopt and implement new products or to embark on upgrading their SAP landscape, but the returns on this kind of investment can be great. It’s likely that adopting new innovations or planning an upgrade will cause some disruption, but in the long-term it’s worth the pain. The key factor for SAP customers is understanding what their return on an investment will be and how it will benefit the organisation.

>See also: If HANA fails, SAP dies: Teradata CTO

Cloud is SAP’s future, are you ready for it to be yours?

It’s clear that SAP is committed to cloud – it even predicted in its latest five-year outlook that its cloud business would reach parity with its on-premise business in 2018.

It’s important to remember in the context of cloud that SAP still has many on-premise customers that it mustn’t forget about. There must be an incentive for those businesses still quite happily running on-premise solutions, and it must be right for them to move to the cloud, not just right for SAP. Customers must be fully comfortable with the business case for cloud before making the leap.

The automated nature of cloud, and the fact that it can essentially upgrade itself, takes away some of the potential disruption associated with upgrades and migrations. In this sense, cloud itself can speed the way to innovation because it supports quicker adoption and can also lead to a reduction in costs.

Through its 2020 vision, SAP has made it clear that cloud is its future, and customers should prepare now by talking to user groups and partners who can assist with planning an achievable roadmap.

Making in-memory a reality

Earlier this year, SAP announced a significant overhaul of its business suite. S/4 HANA is fully built on the advanced in-memory HANA platform, and represents SAP’s long-term strategy for HANA, cloud and mobile; a core tenet of its focus on efficiency alongside innovation.

The promise of S/4 HANA is great – for SAP users, this kind of in-memory tool has brought the promise of a step-change in data processing and analysis much closer to reality, and the potential for in-memory computing to ‘go mainstream’ is notable.

While all this sounds promising, for existing SAP customers to make it a reality, understanding the migration path to S/4HANA will be the most important thing.

Taking time to understand the business case and the resources needed to migrate to S/4 HANA will smooth the path considerably. In conjunction, SAP itself must be forthcoming with help and support that will give customers the full picture on how to carry out a successful migration.

For many companies, the desire to embrace innovation is there, but the ability is do it is more of a struggle. SAP must continue to support its customers or risk leaving them behind.

Seek support and ye shall find

SAP has been prolific in acquiring and developing new technologies in recent years. Its acquisition of Ariba and SuccessFactors are just two notable examples of significant buys that have expanded the portfolio of what is on offer to SAP customers.

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Keeping pace is not always easy, and knowing whether or not to adopt new technologies keeps SAP customers guessing. The risk is that businesses will miss out on the potential benefits that a platform like SuccessFactors can deliver, because they lack the knowledge and impetus to seek out change.

SAP customers must not wait for answers to come to them, but should actively seek support and knowledge both from SAP, its partner ecosystems and user groups.


This will also ensure they have a clear understanding of SAP’s long term plan, so their own roadmap can be developed to align with it.

Adopting new technologies and becoming innovative won’t happen overnight, nor will it always be easy. But, with the right help and support, customers can at least make sure that its right for them.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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