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Cloud apps don't need to be rewritten and to be in same programming language: SAP

Christian Klein, CEO of SAP
(Image credit: Future)

SAP has been criticised for the past many years for not integrating the products it acquired recently and they don‘t have a single code line, single product architecture and a single data model.

The big acquisitions which SAP made are Qualtrics for $8b, Concur for $8.3b, SuccessFactors for $3.4b and Callidus Software for $2.4b.

Speaking on the sidelines of the “Sapphire Now Reimagined” webinar, Christian Klein, CEO of the world’s largest software company, told TechRadar Pro Middle East that what customers want is to implement SAP software and “what we need is to solve their business challenges.”

“We need to run their enterprises in a better way and for that; our applications have to talk to each other. It is not written in the same programming language but what is very important is that all of our applications are using the same data model and using the same business services. 50% of the integration qualities are already delivered in the cloud and by the end of the year, it will be 90%,” he said.

“All of our core cloud applications are already running on Hana and that was the first step we did and now, we are harmonising the business process with our SAP cloud platform.”

When asked whether SAP will rewrite every single code line of its cloud applications, he said “no”.

“We don’t see any benefit out of that need in the cost of running the applications. What the customers want is to make sure that they seamlessly run their applications and this is the way we are going to tackle it.

“We got extremely positive feedback last week from an SAP user group survey about their experience now with SAP cloud applications and how they work. The respondents said that they now see clear progress on how to run these applications and does not feel anymore that they got acquired and left in isolation. It is getting better and we have more work to do and we are on it,” he said.

Moreover, Klein said that no other company is more experienced than SAP to transform their business because “we have been doing this for more than 50 years. Our product strategy is tailored to one goal – being the innovative and trusted partner for your holistic business transformation.”

Focus on platform and software layers

Klein said that SAP will continue to partner with Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, AWS or Alibaba Cloud but “we will own the business platform and the application layer.”

“When you are an applications provider, you have to have a platform which, first of all, integrates your apps. SAP’s DNA is about running business process and running mission-critical apps and a company does not want in silos. You have to make the value chain work, the supply chain needs to connect to commerce job, procurement needs to connect to finance and for that, we need a platform. That is our SAP platform which offers the data models to harmonise the data across our apps.

“We cannot conquer the industry and we need partners and the ecosystems. We want to win in ERP, HR and procurement and we also have to place our bets where we put our investments in and also partner to give our customers a comprehensive and compelling portfolio with solutions developed by SAP and use partner solutions where we don’t have leadership,” he said.

More than 400,000 customers globally, including 92% of Forbes 2,000 companies, use SAP technology, he said.

Its S/4 Hana has over 14,000 customers, especially on the cloud, and SAP sees huge progress.

 “We know what the best processes are in the digital age and we need to guide and show our customers the best process to implement it,” he said.

The digital transformation is no longer an opportunity, he said, it is a must.

Real business transformation

“When we can’t interact in person, we are forced to find other ways of doing business. All of us need to become resilient, sustainable and profitable companies. Together, as intelligent enterprises, we can turn the world’s biggest challenges into greatest opportunities,” Klien said.

Companies which use innovative technologies were more competitive before the crisis and are more resilient in the crisis; he said and added that those that enable new additional business models through automation and adapted their supply chains are better prepared for the unexpected.

“This crisis shows us that if your business is not resilient, you will be left with nothing. If you have mastered resiliency, you can focus on profitability. Let us emerge stronger out of this crisis and more important than ever. Today’s technologies allow you to do just that.

“Real business transformation will only be successful if an enterprise is willing to lead from the top and a true business transformation does not happen only with an intelligent workflow solution or by selecting many of the best in the market and lead to a fragmented IT landscape or by moving your IT landscape to public cloud infrastructure and create data lakes,” he said.

To transform into a resilient, sustainable and profitable intelligent enterprise, he said that three principles are key:

  • Integration: We will deliver strong business process integration across the entire value chain.
  • Innovation: We will fuse intelligence across our whole portfolio and deliver new differentiating business innovations.
  • Agility and speed: We will further accelerate time to value and innovation cycles, all with one focus – our customer success.