Dear Dr. Plattner:
I read your latest rant about Oracle and I felt vindicated in writing in SAP Nation that Oracle is Moby Dick to SAP’s Ahab. You are obsessed with that whale – in the past you would complain they would target you, now you are venting they think you are insignificant.
The best thing you can do is to ignore them and go back to basics – Applications, Budgets and Customers.
Applications – 15 years ago, you had won that battle against Oracle. Handily. Then you went off on a NetWeaver, Sybase, HANA tangent. You wanted to become a platform company like them. And while doing so amazingly you did not plan for production quality at your sophisticated customers. It’s not that HANA is not elegant or that customers particularly like legacy databases. They have systems management and talent infrastructure built for industrial level production around them. That just has not grown around HANA even after all these years. In the meantime, you have forgotten how to develop apps. BYD, now S/4 have both been amazingly poor launches from an application giant like SAP. You have spent billions acquiring cloud apps which are of mild interest to customers. T&E? Indirect materials? They expect you to attempt moonshots, not focus on tiny, edge applications. And in the meantime, for the last decade you have given Oracle a chance to reengineer their own apps for the cloud. Argue all you want but today they have a much more attractive cloud app portfolio than you do. At least for horizontal apps. You can beat them by developing the next generation of industry apps, but I see little interest from SAP in that.
Budgets – You can blame Oracle all you want but in every model I have built for SAP Nation, they cost your customers less than 10%. Actually less than 5%. Your other partners – the SIs, the hosters, the application management partners, the MPLS telcos – cause much more damage. And, boy, is the damage spectacular! The most conservative model I have shows costs in the SAP economy at $ 200 billion a year. If you add in end user costs, writeoffs and amortizations, the model balloons to $ 700 billion a year. On every benchmark - cost of storage per gb per month, cost per MBPS in their networks, application management cost per user SAP shops look inefficient. Yet, you show little interest in managing the other vendors in your ecosystem.
Customers – I did not think this was ever possible, but SAP is these days considered even more aggressive and hostile to its customers. As one analyst called it your “indirect access assault team” and other aggressive compliance stance has pitted you against your very own customers. In your obsession with Oracle, you have forgotten your customers. And they are responding by protecting against YOU - ring-fencing, two-tiering, going with third party maintenance, doing other summersaults to shrink the SAP core.
Hasso, I realize you are an excellent sailor and you may have a more romantic view of Ahab. But to many who have read the Herman Melville classic, he was the villain, or at best a tragic hero. He could have left the whale alone, but instead he chose to keep pursuing it.
You can do better. I hope you do better. I would like to write SAP Nation 3.0 in a few years, and it sure would be nice to paint a much more glowing picture of SAP.