Like Mike Krigsman, I too heard the "we are committed" comments about the SaaS BusinessByDesign product at Sapphire. Rainer Zinow, Jeff Stiles and others from the product team, all the way up to Leo Apotheker and Hasso Plattner.
Promises about a more definitive release schedule in the summer along with Feature Pack 2.5. Also feedback from the 40+ charter customers has been very positive.
But I also heard Pascal Brosset (see his views on the blog last week), SAP's strategy guru say they view On-demand (SaaS) as a very small part of their landscape. And, let's face it, it will compete with established SME focused siblings at SAP like All-in-One.
And I asked, based on a prospect experience, why they were tightly qualifying who they will sell the product to. The answer was they were losing money on each deal and the CFO had the product on a tight leash.
Part of me sympathizes with the CFO. Project Vienna on down the move to the web and on-demand effort has been a money pit.
Part of me says the CFO (and other executives) still view the world from old lenses. Develop software and let someone else implement and manage it. Much higher margins than SaaS vendors are showing. Low tolerance for vendor capex which the new era of clouds demands. Much as I sympathize with Jeff, Rainer and team I think they are surrounded by too many "white corpuscles".
English is a funny language with many double meanings. I hope I am wrong - and the summer will show us - but I am afraid when SAP says “committed” it really means it has the product in a padded cell.
To be watched carefully and only let out in public sporadically.
Update: Dennis Howlett has a fuller analysis with input from other Enterprise Irregulars.