SAP vows to get closer to its users

SAP UK has vowed to work more closely with the SAP User Group as it seeks to improve its understanding of the needs of businesses.


SAP UK has vowed to work more closely with the SAP User Group as it seeks to improve its understanding of the needs of businesses.

Tim Noble, recently appointed managing director for SAP UK and Ireland, said developing and strengthening the relationship with the SAP User Group was his personal goal.

Since starting his new role at SAP, Noble said he has tried to visit as many end-user organisations as possible to learn at first hand what these businesses need.

SAP also plans to work with more software industry partners to ensure that its systems are not locked into any specific technology.

"We have to be open to ensure SAP systems are accessible to all businesses," said Chakib Bouhdary, chief value officer at SAP.

The enterprise software maker plans to partner with as many technology companies as possible, he told the SAP UK and Ireland User Group Conference 2009.

Innovation with technology companies like Adobe and Microsoft, particularly in the current economic conditions, is possible only through strategic partnerships, he said.

SAP's plan to work closely with end-users has been lacking in the past, said Ray Wang, partner, enterprise strategy, at consultancy Altimeter Group.

"There is a lot of investment that is happening in research and development at SAP, but very little is seeing the light of day," he told Computer Weekly.

SAP invested 19.4% of revenues and a total of €1.6bn in research and development in 2008, said Wang, but end-users have very little say in how that money is spent.

Wang believes SAP should involve end-users to a greater extent in the research that it is doing to allow the market to select which projects go forward.

"SAP needs to be more transparent. Open up the kimono to enable end-users to select what they need," he said.

User groups should also increase pressure on all enterprise software suppliers to be more open about the direction of their development processes, said Wang.

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