Innovation within the Cloud – Innovation Evangelism


Paul Cooper, UKISUG Chairman, giving the keynote at the annusal UKISUG Connect event, 2023

It was certainly one of my favourite occasions of the yr final week — the annual convention for the members of the UK and Eire SAP person’s group, UKISUG Join 2023, within the ICC in Birmingham.

As is customary, Paul Cooper, UKISUG Chairman kicking issues off with the outcomes of a member survey highlighting present considerations:

….Take the problem of oblique licensing […] after a bumpy journey, we, together with the opposite international person teams, managed to get SAP to acknowledge that the purchasers wanted a extra clear and fairer method to licensing. 

The purpose is that the street has at all times been bumpy. However once we work constructively collectively, challenges might be solved. Proper now we’re at some extent the place we face a breakdown in belief. On premise and hosted clients are sad, to place it mildly. With the assertion from Christian Klein stating that SAP would solely be releasing new improvements into the cloud. 

This isn’t a small minority of shoppers. When this was introduced, we determined to survey our members. First, earlier than we joined and commented on the controversy, analysis now we have carried out amongst our members, exhibits 79% of you which have moved to S/4HANA are an on-premise or hosted deployment. And that of these which are planning to maneuver to S/4HANA, 70% plan to maneuver to on-premise or hosted variations. 

Again in 2020, SAP board member Thomas Saueressig, talked about giving clients alternative between cloud and on-premise deployments. We have been instructed that SAP believed in a hybrid future. But Mr. Saueressig didn’t as soon as say that cloud deployments got here with full innovation whereas different flavors of S/4HANA didn’t. We have been additionally instructed that S/4HANA can be supported till 2040. There was no caveats that main innovation may solely be delivered to private and non-private cloud clients, utilizing RISE with SAP or GROW. Why did SAP not inform us that new improvements solely going to be out there to cloud clients? Did they not suppose it was vital in our decision-making course of? These are the questions our members have been asking us. 

I’ve heard the extra cynical amongst you counsel that SAP didn’t disclose this technique earlier than as a result of clients selecting to remain on-premise may not have made the S/4HANA transfer in any respect. Additionally there are members that SAP itself have instructed to stay on-premise. Why? As a result of the scale, complexity and criticality of their SAP implementations have been deemed too tough and dangerous to maneuver to the cloud. Will they be exempt from this future SAP improvements? In that case, absolutely there ought to have been instructed after they have been initially investing of their transfer to S/4HANA. 

The underside line is clients which have moved to on-premise or hosted implementations of S/4HANA really feel misled. From a UKISUG perspective, it is a important proportion of our membership. If SAP refuses to speak extra on this matter, there’s a actual threat a lot of these planning emigrate to S/4HANA might change their plans. Of those that have already migrated to an innovation-less future, will they select to spend money on different SAP platforms. I’ve already heard plenty of on-premise and hosted clients counsel they count on large-scale reductions in help upkeep prices as they’re now working an inferior model of S/4HANA. I can see that time. Absolutely a much less future wealthy product prices much less to help than keep. Others are asking if SAP intends to refund or partly refund them, is they don’t seem to be offering the services or products they have been instructed about. 

We’ve raised these points with SAP and at this time they’ve remained publicly silent and for these of you at SAP listening at this time, I urge you to have interaction and work in the direction of an answer that rebuilds belief and tackle the considerations of our membership, nearly all of whom, as we stated earlier than earlier, have on-premise or hosted deployments. Work with us to construct bridges and allow on-premise clients to entry innovation. 

In personal, some SAP executives have instructed particular person on-premise members that there’s no technical purpose why they couldn’t entry nearly all of improvements via BTP. If that is true, then inform us if it isn’t please cease miscommunicating. As clients, what we would like is open and clear relationships with our distributors like SAP, the place we will really feel valued and we will belief SAP. 

This isn’t one thing that may be resolved by the native group within the UK island the place our collaboration is extraordinarily robust. As an alternative, it requires motion from these on the high of SAP. Somewhat than selecting to please traders over clients, take into consideration pleasing your clients, as with out them, your traders will quickly disappear. 

On the Germans person group convention in September, SAP’s CEO stated no buyer can be left behind. Hopefully in coming months we will work collectively to make this a actuality and be certain that all clients and our members have entry to innovation and aren’t penalized for investing in an on-premise or hybrid model of S/4HANA. 

Earlier than I end at this time, I’d wish to want Conor Riordan, who will take over from me as Chairman subsequent yr, the easiest of luck as he steps as much as Chair. It’s been an absolute pleasure to function Chair of your person group for the final six years. We’ve continued to flourish and evolve.

SAP UK MD Ryan Poggi on stage at UKISUG Connect 2023

SAP UK Managing Director Ryan Poggi was subsequent on stage to reply to the remarks. He emphasised joint SAP and buyer success, and the significance of transparency:

The most recent improvements are what hold us—and also you, as a result of I firmly consider that we dwell [in the same environment] aggressive—in a particularly difficult atmosphere. And what we’ve heard persistently is that you simply count on us, as a associate, to be one step forward. And to problem the established order once we consider that collectively we’re not maximizing our potential. 

Change is rarely straightforward and we face the identical challenges as everybody. How can we direct a finite variety of assets to supply essentially the most worth to our clients and be certain that we keep our place on the forefront of an trade we helped create? —which is what you rightfully count on from us. How do you carry the newest know-how, for instance, generative AI, to you in environments the place they add essentially the most worth, a lot of which require the cloud? And at last, how can we be certain that inflation, which within the final yr has been as excessive as 9% and impacts us all, doesn’t create an atmosphere that detracts from our potential to ship? 

And the fact is, like it’s for a lot of of you, this requires some robust funding choices. However this can by no means change our dedication to supporting all UKI clients at any stage of your transformation, which is one thing our board has additionally dedicated to. However I additionally observe that irrespective of how a lot time we dedicate to this subject on this stage, there’ll nonetheless be questions. 

So my dedication to you and my ask of you is that we proceed to have these clear conversations with our groups and encourage a connection to the suitable stakeholders on each side. Our door is at all times open. And as I mentioned with Paul once we first met, or met quite, on the podcast, I actually do consider that the premise for a real partnership is that open, clear dialogue. And half and parcel of that’s what I discuss with as understanding the why. 

That doesn’t imply that understanding why we make the selections we make, otherwise you make the selections you make, will remedy every thing. However it’ll, I consider, assist create that basis of belief. Now, after what’s simply been stated, this will likely appear a bit of tone deaf, however I’m positive none of you might be stunned to see RISE right here or round. 

I do know that for a lot of of you it has felt like all you’ve heard us say is “RISE is the reply, what’s the query?”. However let me take a second to elucidate the context of why we launched RISE. And to everybody considering, effectively, to promote extra S/4HANA Cloud, give me a second. RISE was truly born instantly in response to buyer suggestions. You shared with us that it was too tough to work with SAP, that it felt like SAP was solely centered on promoting merchandise. You have been rightfully demanding extra from us. The market was additionally very clear. 

If we need to be the cloud firm, we must be a proactive associate and transfer from an answer and project-delivery focus to being accountable for the operational supply and end result. RISE was born from that suggestions, to grow to be the proactive associate that you simply have been demanding, bringing the very best of our ecosystem collectively, whereas nonetheless supplying you with flexibility of alternative by way of hyperscaler or companies supplier, all whereas making certain SAP stays accountable for the result. 

RISE isn’t solely about S4, it’s a cloud working mannequin that leverages the facility of our ecosystem for you. And this yr, now we have seen that the understanding of RISE throughout the UKI has progressed considerably, because of the assistance of our joint workshops and this discussion board, the person group. We’ll hear a bit of bit later instantly from certainly one of our clients about how and whether or not they understand this modification. 

As I stated, understanding the why doesn’t remedy every thing, however hopefully it gives a greater understanding of how we’re making an attempt to construct that partnership. And this implies evolving the best way we associate with all clients, as a result of historical past has confirmed that lasting financial turnaround in UKI requires progress within the SME market. 

Using over 16 million folks, these organizations make up over 80% of the market. Lots of you right here at this time, we can’t overstate the significance of those corporations to financial restoration. However not solely can SMEs out-compete with the suitable associate, they’re capable of change your complete enjoying area. 

The problem, nonetheless, is to not permit complexity to creep in as they develop. And that is the place know-how involves the fore, by permitting you to focus in your progress by offering a platform that delivers stabilization. GROW with SAP makes this accessible to all organizations, a proactive partnership throughout our ecosystem, supplying you with the power to leverage match to plain within the cloud from day one.

[… my door is] at all times open and we worth clear dialog. I belief that over the course of this occasion our group will proceed to display how we’re laser centered on incomes your belief and the followership within the UKI. I very a lot stay up for persevering with to work with all of you and all of our clients in 2024 and past and it’s been a pleasure to be right here. Thanks very a lot. 

For extra dialogue on this, please check out this Diginomica article by Derek du Preez


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