The SAP TechEd Event

The Six Five team dives into the latest out of the SAP TechEd Event.

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Patrick Moorhead: So, hey, let’s jump to the next topic. SAP had its developer conference lovingly referred to as TechEd. Danny, you want to kick this one off?

Daniel Newman: Yeah, absolutely. So back again, SAP TechEd, still virtual. We weren’t able to be there, but hopefully very soon. And this year’s event was focused on a lot of things. It’s a big conference, but for SAP, I thought this was an event that really was diving into closing skills gaps and making it easier to do business with SAP. So the company had a series of new tools and integrations announced it had a series of no-code, low-code and pro-code solutions for SAP AppGyver and SAP Business Technology Platform. It had composable enterprise solutions that it talked about across the ERP Suite, SAP Integration Suite, SAP HANA cloud, SAP IBM for supply chain. There was a few examples. It announced some embedded AI capabilities for various functions designed to simplify processes across the organization. And then of course the company continues to use this event as a platform to talk about learning and educational courses, to help students all the way up to professionals in the workplace to better understand SAP, because of course, if you’re not familiar and I’m betting many of you that watch our show are SAP, it’s an ecosystem. And understanding how to use it is a strong proposition for creating value and economic value and of course, job opportunities for people.

There was a lot of things that happened at this event, Pat, but I think when you have a broad event like this, what I always like to do is say what are a couple of the things that really drove my attention? And so a few weeks ago, when SAP had their most recent earnings, we talked a little bit about SAP and RISE with SAP, which is their new program that’s all about making it easier to do business and easier to move your SAP instances to the cloud.

If you followed SAP for a while, that’s what most of the criticism of the company has come around is whether or not the company is moving quickly enough to the cloud and our company’s adopting the platform. We know that in order to move SAPs prem to cloud solutions, really the process is a full on lift and shift. So it’s not as easy as some companies. And this is also opened SAP up to some risk for companies to use this as a moment to maybe move onto other platforms. With RISE, they’re building a whole set of solutions to make it easier for companies needs to move over to cloud.

Now, this isn’t what TechEd was all about, but some of the things that they announced at TechEd, specifically the business technology platform, along with their acquisition of AppGyver, which are all about the company’s next generation of no-code and low-code to make it easier for companies to be able to do business. And that was an underpinning of my analysis of the event was that the announcements that the company made were heavily leaning towards saying SAP wants to be easier to work with, whether that’s through partnerships, whether that’s through simplification and low-code and no-code, whether that’s through simplified billing and streamlined workflows, but they understand the importance and the fact that a lot of risk profile that’s been created through being a little bit of a more challenging lift to the cloud and also for developing applications.

So this event to me was heavy on the business technology platform, heavy on AppGyver, AppGyver. I think it’s Gyver, Pat, but I actually haven’t heard it out loud or heard it a few different ways. So I want to make sure I’m saying that right. But the SAP TechEd event was really about streamlining processes, making the citizen developer be able to help build SAP’s value within the enterprise and making it easier to do business with SAP for companies that have invested in the platform.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah, I think you nailed it. And listen, I’ve been super skeptical of SAP over the years. I think I might have been tainted a little bit by using it back at AMD back in 2001 or, or something like that. So not the Ferris comparison, but I’m slowly warming up to what the company is doing, particularly around the cloud. It’s a company that knew what it wasn’t going to be great at. And that was to stand up its own IAS, very similar to a Salesforce or a Slack or a Zoom and focused on its core competency, which was, and I know it’s more than ERP company, but that’s really where the rubber meets the road.

What I liked about these announcements and Daniel, I think you nailed it was hitting on that simplicity. SAP has had a reputation for being hard to work with and that’s primarily because it was an on-prem play, a software play back in the early 2000s. And I remember even being where I worked at AMD, we always had to put a rapper around everything SAP to make it easier for end-users and developers.

But the company has really transformed itself over the last 20 years. And I think particularly in the last year, as I become to warm up to the company that are doing things dramatically different, whether that’s RISE to help customers get into the cloud in a more simple way, whether it’s acquiring SaaS companies like Ariba that I know you used, Daniel, and I used as a company because of a lot of our clients are on that and it’s nice to get paid through that service. But now for this it’s low-code and no-code.

And quite frankly, if you have an ecosystem, if you’re a company, you have to have low-code and no-code because of the drought of programmers. And we’ve heard this, this is not just an SAP thing. This is Microsoft, this is AWS with Honeycode, this is Power Platform, this is anybody with an ecosystem, even Salesforce. So I like what I’m seeing from SAP and Daniel and I are warming up to the company as we move forward here. So in a very-

Daniel Newman: And if I could do a quick boomerang because we’re going pretty quick. But the one thing I do want to say is we are not by any means saying that this is like a sudden correction. I like that you mentioned the friction, Pat, I like that you mentioned the reputation. But what I do see as a genuine effort. I’ve seen genuine growth in cloud, which means the company not just accepting. Remember the Microsoft transition, where they went from talking about moving to cloud to under [inaudible] they really did it. And there was a little bit of a side step and almost a step back that had to happen.

The other thing is I’ve listened to this company for years talk about low-code, no code and simplifying processes and it had felt a little bit empty. And now I think what we is a genuine effort, a genuine advancement in the product and the technology to build a more robust stable ecosystem to keep customers onboarded and to make that migration to cloud. So apologize for that, Pat. I know we don’t love the boomerangs, but I just wanted to reiterate that we’re not sitting here saying it’s perfect. We’re just saying that the progress is becoming notable and visible.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah, Daniel. Listen, boomerangs aren’t always bad. I mean, let’s just really have honest conversation here, but I think it’s fair to really put where we’re coming from. And quite frankly, for the last decade, I hadn’t had anything nice to say about SAP, but directionally, they seem to be focus on many of the right things particularly that their users are looking for. And I got to do a lot of more research on them. I don’t know if they’re making any money when they’re… Well, any incremental money when their software is sitting in the public cloud, but that’s a similar problem that many other companies I have.

Author Information

Daniel is the CEO of The Futurum Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise.

From the leading edge of AI to global technology policy, Daniel makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology investments. Daniel is a top 5 globally ranked industry analyst and his ideas are regularly cited or shared in television appearances by CNBC, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal and hundreds of other sites around the world.

A 7x Best-Selling Author including his most recent book “Human/Machine.” Daniel is also a Forbes and MarketWatch (Dow Jones) contributor.

An MBA and Former Graduate Adjunct Faculty, Daniel is an Austin Texas transplant after 40 years in Chicago. His speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.


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