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SAP too slow to cloud, say users

Warwick Ashford

Nearly two-thirds of SAP users plan to use SAP's cloud-based offering in future, but 73% believe SAP has been slow in bringing them to market, a survey reveals.

Some 16% of organisations polled by the UK & Ireland SAP User Group said they ended up using another vendor's technology in another area of their business because SAP did not have an appropriate software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering for their needs.

"It is clear that more users are now starting to consider SaaS as a way to deliver applications to their business," said Craig Dale, chief executive of the user group.

"SAP has been criticised for being slow to bring its SaaS offering to the market, but hopefully the result is a more robust and compelling offering," he said.

Tim Noble, managing director of SAP UK & Ireland said: "We truly believe we came to the marketplace early enough with SAP Business ByDesign."

"We have been working with pilot customers until now to ensure the solution is robust and ready for volume business," he said.

According to Craig, users will benefit from SAP's hybrid approach where organisations have some processes in the cloud, while others are kept in the business.

"This means that users don't have to put their business-critical processes in the cloud if they feel it is too risky, but can still reap the cost and flexibility benefits for other areas of their business," he said.

Only 17% of respondents said they were using SaaS or cloud computing to deliver business-critical applications to their organisation, but 49% said they planned to use such services in the next 12 to 18 months.

This shows a growing acceptance of the model, with 55% saying they thought it would be easier to establish and meet SLAs than keeping all applications in house.

Reduced (35%) and quicker deployment times (32%) were cited as the biggest benefits for using SaaS and cloud computing.

On the biggest barriers, opinion was more evenly split. Compliance and data protection fears were cited as the biggest barrier (34%), followed by lack of control (26%), lack of customisation (20%) and the risk of network or server outages (20%).

This suggests there remains a lot more education and reassurance when it comes to organisations deploying SaaS and cloud computing services in the future.

"In the coming months, and at this year's annual user conference, we will be aiming to further educate our members on the pros and cons of SaaS as different organisations will have different business needs," said Dale.

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