During the press conference last week, I asked the executive panel why there were so few vertical announcements at Sapphire compared to compliance, analytics, ESA and other horizontal announcements. Henning Kagermann, CEO responded that I should see the annual report that had more SAP industry analysis. Almost instantaneously, I was emailed a copy of the annual report (thanks, Stacey). Leo Apotheker, President for Global Sales also commented there was a continuous stream of vertical announcements throughout the year. A few hours later, Richard Campione, SVP for Industry Solution Marketing talked to me some more about why they had not showcased industry views as much at Sapphire. His point was it is not the right forum - with such a wide audience horizontal messages are more on target.
Here's the reason for my question at the press conference:
SAP talks about being able to support 28 industries. It also suggests 100% solutions in each. Yet if you look at its solution maps, it has several "white spaces". It talks about extending them with its partner ISVs and SIs with NetWeaver platformed xApps or has future R&D plans for them. So where is it really?
Widely divergent industry by industry, I would
say. In general, it is strong in many manufacturing markets. But once you
leave those SIC codes (which make up 20% of most western economies), is it absent in many major industry transaction engines
- telecom billing, hotel reservations, state and local tax
processing, mortgage processing to name a few. And even where it does as
in insurance or banking functionality, there are usually only a handful of customer references outside of German
Maybe Richard can show me otherwise, but my view is SAP is still primarily a horizontal provider (financial, HR, procurement, CRM) provider in most industries. And I think it will take a long time before xApps or its own R&D will be able to provide robust functionality in many critical vertical processes any time soon. Is it better than Oracle in most industries, yes? Does it have anywhere close to 100% industry functionality. Not by a long shot.
Which is why I think it should have more vertical coverage at events like Sapphire. With over 12,000 attendees (since ASUG was running in parallel), it is a great opportunity to segment the audience – and honestly talk about the “white spaces” and talk about customer adoption of vertical functionality in various geographies.