SAP will, in January 2014, announce a new simplification initiative, co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe told the UK and Ireland SAP user group conference yesterday.
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“In January we will put simplification as a key goal, offering more of a solutions approach”. The new approach will be demonstrated at the Sapphire 2014 conference, he added.
On the eve of stepping down, next year, from the co-CEO role he has held with Bill McDermott, since 2010, Hagemann Snabe recalled the supplier’s 2010 decision to recast its business, beyond ERP.
“We decided then to innovate, not just to be the ERP company”, but to enter three new categories: mobile, cloud, and in-memory database technology – the data warehouse appliance Hana.
“Mobile means new ways of interacting with workers and consumers. With cloud the opportunity there is fundamentally to simplify, to take complexity away from customers.
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“And with the database, the disc is the slowest part of infrastructure. We had to build around slowness, generating complexity. We wanted to put all data in main memory, therefore.”
But, he said, the supplier has added 1,000 more developers to the core ERP technology. “Our core lies in understanding business processes. We decided we would not leave the core behind, and we wanted to avoid disruptive upgrades for customers.
“The moment when we put Business Warehouse and Business Suite on Hana was when we could fully leverage the investment we made, bringing analytical and transactional [workloads] together.
“It is not a new product, but a re-coding of a product you already have.”
In response to an onstage question from Philip Adams, chair of the user group, about whether his stepping down would see a diminishing focus on product innovation, Hagemann Snabe said: “Three years back we were run more from sales than engineering. We decided we wanted two-thirds of our growth to come from organic innovation, not acquisition.
“We changed our own software development process from waterfall to agile, with two to four week cycles and customers involved throughout. That will not stop”, he said. “[Vishal] Sikka is a wizard, he can see around corners, he is the father – or son – of Hana.
“And Bill is strong on innovation vision too. He is the American, and will continue to be the American. But he will spend more time in Europe. So, invite him next year”.
He added that SAP’s cloud acquisitions, of SuccessFactors and Ariba, have “added engineering capability” to the software manufacturer’s “DNA”.