SAP shows it took Gartner’s warning seriously, but is it enough?

When SAP SE first announced its SAP Business Suite 4 HANA suite in the first quarter of 2015, analyst firm Gartner Inc. issued a report advising SAP users to “hold onto their wallets” instead of jumping into an upgrade. Given the response SAP has constructed since then, you might think its feelings were hurt.

A Nov. 11 update to its S4/HANA suites not only updated us on the number of customers that have already adopted the new platform – 1,300 since it was released – but also focuses on laying out the road map that Gartner said was lacking in a March report. When SAP moved its Business Suite to HANA, the in-memory database platform that it’s previously said will be the basis for all its software, Gartner analysts said there were questions left unanswered about the product’s capabilities.

Executives take to Youtube

In addition to the software update and added direction, SAP is also now letting customers trial the S4/HANA suite for free. It’s also issued two videos directed at motivating customers to get on board with the new platform, including one from Leagh Tuner, chief operations officer of SAP Canada.

Turner links the need for using the new ERP software directly to Canada’s economic performance.

She begins the video by saying Canada has fallen in a global ranking of innovative economies – between 2008 and 2015 Canada has fallen from 12th to 25th place. Turner is likely referring to a World Economic Forum ranking, which ranked Canada 22nd on the “innovation pillar” in its 2014-2015 Global Competitiveness report. Though it’s possible she’s referring to another aggregated list that considers rankings from several sources.

“There’s a compounding problem of consecutive GDP shrinkage,” Turner says, pointing to the trend seen in the first two quarters of 2015, with Statistics Canada saying Canada’s economy contracted by 0.8 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively.

“We are living in a world where businesses are favouring cost-cutting over innovation as a direct result,” she says. “The gap between the need for innovation as a country and those companies that are executing on it is widening.”

Bi-model IT is the answer to turn Canada’s economy around, Turner says. Businesses shoudl be focusing not only on efficiency gains, but on entirely eliminating processes within the business. Then a business can have more time to pursue innovation.

Of course, the video ends with a direct pitch to adopt S4/HANA.

The platform “is a simple, agile, digital core that brings all the data of a business in one place. It allows for dramatic gain in efficiency,” she says. “It doesn’t really matter to us how our customers want to consume this platform of innovation, the real goal is to just get started.”

Suresh Ramanathan, vice-president of SAP’s centre of excellence also took to Youtube to directly address Gartner’s guidance to wait and see with S4/HANA.

He focuses on the benefits of running Business Suite on HANA and the capabilities found in the upgraded software.

There are three differentiators with S4/HANA, he says. Better useability, combined operations and analytics on the same platform, and simpler data models that support higher throughput and better data models. ”

The longer they wait the more costly and more effort intensive it is,” he says.

Are you convinced?

We want to know what you think. Has SAP’s software update, free trial opportunity, and executive guidance answered Gartner’s questions about the new S4/HANA platform sufficiently. Let us know in the comments below on on Twitter @itworldca if you’re an SAP user and whether you plan to upgrade – or wait and see.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Former editorial director of IT World Canada. Current research director at Info-Tech

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