Reading Dennis Howlett’s update on HANA, you get the sense it is the first time SAP has had rollout issues
I can point to several more lethargic product rollouts in the last few years
- ECC 6.0 available since 2005 is still only up to 80% penetration in the customer base
- The ByD – Business By Design - product introduced in 2007 (after a few iterations) is still at only a few hundred installs
- The SAP Mobile Apps store shows fewer than 100 new apps introduced in 2012.
SAP says it has 194,000 customers worldwide. It should be able to bribe, cajole, coerce at least 5% of its customers to adopt anything – so it should not even bother to talk about progress till it has shipped 10,000 units of anything. It has hundreds of partners who should be developing thousands of new mobile apps every quarter.
SAP has not forgotten how to develop. It has not forgotten how to sell. But I strongly believe it has forgotten how to launch new products. The pricing, the use case development, the business case guidance, the partner ecosystem management when a product is immature all call for skillsets which cannot be assigned to developers or salespeople. It needs a dedicated product launch team whose prime target should be “get us to 10,000 customers in a year”
SAP’s repeated tendency to announce products way ahead of critical customer mass has led me to ask them to take me of their briefing list. But I don’t matter – the company’s entire credibility has suffered in the last few years as a result of its rollout malaise.