The sequel to SAP Nation came out in book stores a week ago (print at CreateSpace and ebook atAmazon). As with previous books, I will be excerpting 10% of the contents over the next few weeks. Here is some from Chapter 5:
“In the Pulitzer-prize-winning The Soul of a New Machine, Tracy Kidder wrote of an ad that Data General produced but never ran. It read:
"They Say IBM's Entry Into Minicomputers Will Legitimize The Market. The Bastards Say, Welcome"
Jason Blessing, the CEO of Plex, a cloud manufacturing vendor (and before that an executive at Taleo, a cloud HCM vendor), similarly told me:
"Strange as it may sound, I am pleased to see S/4. First, SAP's cloud delivery promise and those of other major vendors like Oracle validates cloud computing, and what we have been doing at Plex for years now. Second, any time a company announces a next-gen product it puts their incumbent customer base in play. Customers know they have to re-platform and therefore re-implement their old SAP applications. Any effort like that becomes an opportunity for Plex to show what we can do for customers in the cloud.
SAP may say S/4 is coming soon, but as we know, enterprise apps are complex. Look at Workday and Oracle Fusion - it's taken them a while to mature their cloud offerings. Additionally, SAP will need to adjust to our changed industry with the pay-as-you-go business model and more modular application sales. Our customers are poster children for those trends in the industry. They often start with a single plant and expand from there. Our private equity, cloud savvy investors embraced the subscription model a long time ago. Our partners think small and sell based on their operational knowledge not their big brands.
Being the last major software vendor to re-platform for the cloud, SAP does have the advantage of learning from the mistakes of others. On the other hand, being late puts more pressure on them, and likely they will only cosmetically refresh what they have today."
Kustoff, (the CIO) introduced in the previous chapter, agrees:
"This is the third major architectural shift I have seen in my IT career. Just like SAP capitalized on the move to client/server computing in the last wave, other vendors without a legacy and client base to support will pour in to take advantage of this shift."