Mobile has great potential but questions remain; cloud computing is not so relevant to companies right now, and is rarely on IT executives’ agendas; and companies are holding off on in-memory: These were the findings of German-speaking SAP user group’s (DSAG) tenth survey on IT investment. If the 367 respondents agreed on one thing, it was that SAP has some tasks it needs to catch up on.
Marco Lenck, who has been DSAG chairperson for almost six months, says this shows just how far ahead SAP is, but innovation does mean disruption and it often forces companies to rethink their IT structure. Concerns about increasing complexity are putting users off.
Most companies, for example, don’t know yet what SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA will mean for their processes. The general rules for all new products are: “Processes must be end-to-end, there mustn’t be too many interfaces, and certainly no slow subsystems,” says Lenck. “Innovation must not lead to even more complexity.”
Four criteria for new SAP software
In response to these concerns, Marco Lenck and the members of the DSAG executive board have defined four criteria for new software, be it an integrated mobile platform or in-memory application:
- business processes must be end-to-end
- licenses must be use-based
- software should be easy to implement
- new applications should find acceptance among business users without IT having to explain why they are needed
DSAG and SAP have already made a start. Lenck gives two examples: use-based licensing for SAP HANA products, and the SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio, a front-end tool that has an element of fun.
Though these latest innovations aren’t the only factors, they are one reason why companies will be spending 11.2% more on SAP this year (last year’s increase was 7.6%), as DSAG’s 2013 investment survey showed. The survey also revealed that investment priorities have not changed on last year, with logistics, corporate services, and accounting still at the top.
Lenck points out that the midmarket and larger midsize companies comprised one third of respondents. Before deciding whether to invest in innovations, they take a long hard look at the facts – at business cases, for instance. And the DSAG community has seen very few of them for the in-memory software, SAP HANA. Not to mention the recently launched SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA.
Early customers need to share their experience
“Companies are certainly interested in SAP HANA, even if it’s not at the top of their list of investments for this year. That’s why it’s so important to share experience from early adopters,” says Lenck. Perhaps that would help some of today’s innovations make it into the top three investment priorities in the user group’s next survey.