The ongoing changes at the executive level should be an indication for customers and channel partners that SAP officials are having difficulties getting a strategy in place, according to Rob Enderle, principal analyst with The Enderle Group.
“They are struggling with a changing market and lack the needed strategic vision to deal with it,” Enderle told Channel Partners. “Lots of executive churn generally is an indicator that the CEO and board have lost their way, so you are seeing the collateral damage from a lack of effective strategic vision.”
As the industry becomes more cloud-centric, SAP finds itself trying to adapt in order to compete with rivals like Oracle and Salesforce.com. Oracle, though late to the cloud game, is investing money and resources to build out its Oracle Cloud with the goal of not only being able to host its large customer base that is looking to migrate its Oracle workloads to the cloud, but also to be a public cloud player that can compete with the likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.
Salesforce was born as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) business and has a broad portfolio of cloud-based enterprise applications.
SAP officials tout the company’s cloud platform as a place where customers can leverage cloud-native technologies and multicloud strategies that can take advantage of the cloud infrastructures of the major hyperscalers. The platform offers an array of capabilities that range from analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, and blockchain to data management, containers, DevOps and the internet of things (IoT).
For a company like SAP, its best way forward in a cloud-focused world may be though partnerships with the major public cloud providers rather than trying to go it alone, according to Enderle.
“A cloud provider tends to be a generalist and SAP isn’t that,” he said. “They can certainly run in the cloud but the largest and most powerful companies tend to have broad skills which help in understanding the needs of a broad market. SAP isn’t really set up to compete here and partnering with firms like Amazon and Microsoft would provide far greater returns than competing with them as a result.”
Overall, SAP lacks “the needed breadth and scale, so for them it should be all about partnerships and alliances so they retain their differentiating focus but still can operate in the cloud. This is a relationship — not a product — game and product companies often miss this critical nuance.”