Burning Platform: A review of RISE with SAP

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Brian Sommer and I have recorded 12 episodes in this series – see index here . Last couple of months, we have had several guests – Rob Kugel of Ventana, Josh Greenbaum of EA Consulting, Bonnie Tinder of Raven Intel, Frank Scavo of Avasant, Dennis Howlett of Diginomica, Cindy Jutras of Mint Jutras, Dave Hofferberth of SPI Research, Holger Mueller of Constellation Research, Tamas Hevizi of Automation Anywhere, Bob Ferrari of Supply Chain Matters, Sabrina Horn of Horn Strategy, Sandra Lo of Zoho, Bob Evans of Evans Strategic Communications, Paul Coetser of Big Blue Ventures and Mark Smith of Ventana Research

In the 27th episode of the series is Dennis Holwett, co-founder of Diginomica. Like me, he is a long-time SAP watcher and we discuss last week’s RISE with SAP event. I had written about the event in the Analyst Cam series here.

We cover a lot of ground – it is the longest episode of Burning Platform.

RISE is a complex bundle – in fact, in his keynote Christian took at swipe at the term “simplification”. That’s been SAP’s mantra for the last decade or so, but key execs like Christian, Juergen Mueller  and Thomas Saueressig are pretty articulate about product details. I told him I was reminded of Thomas Kurian’s encyclopedic knowledge when he was at Oracle. We discuss if that level of intimate product knowledge can carry over further down the organization, in the field and in the partner ecosystem.

Dennis responds to my observation that Christian led off with his SI partners and had the hyperscalers further down in his presentation. Shades of the old SAP or signs of likely co-opetition with the hyperscalers especially at the platform layer?

During the pandemic we have seen customers move to bite-size, industry specific projects. Salesforce, Workday, ServiceNow, others have accordingly made some adjustments. We discuss why RISE with S/4 looming large does not come across as bite-sized, or verticalized enough.

I told him I thought RISE would focus more on execution mechanics and economics. Instead they broadened the product mix with the Signavio and the MS Teams announcement and glossed over what will be hairy execution and contractual issues. SAP has historically shown little ability to manage its SI partners, can it additionally manage the hyperscalers and its own broad product portfolio and deliver coherent economics, SLAs etc?

We discuss the changing hyperscaler landscape. IBM has joined the Big 4 – AWS, Azure etc in the SAP infrastructure stack mix, but not Oracle. During the pandemic, Oracle appeared to pick up some momentum with customers like Zoom and TikTok. Oracle, at least at the database layer, is also more prevalent in the SAP customer base. We discuss how customers are likely to navigate SAP’s choices.

We do agree that SAP should never be underestimated. It has an amazing global customer base, spread across industries and is increasingly cultivating a dynamic, young executive suite.

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SAP acquiring @Signavio into Business Process Intelligence unit

(Cross-posted @ Deal Architect)