Under a beautiful day in Silicon Valley while Jonathan Schwartz (ex Sun CEO) blogs away as a mere moral just weeks after Sun has been consumed by Oracle, SAP introduced the new five-week old partnership of co-chief executives Jim Snabe and Bill McDermott.
Jim Snabe and Bill McDermott are sharing the role of CEO at the global powerhouse software company SAP – whose current value is at $54 billion dollar (market capitalization). Jim and Bill were visibility tired, but they didn’t show it. After hours of jet lag and late nights honing and finalizing SAPs business and technology strategy, the two CEOs showed excitement and punch to their new business strategy.
Bill and Jim Show
Jim Snabe talked about the agile and entrepreneurial spirit of the new SAP product plans with the energy of a newly funded entrepreneur. Bill McDermott had that east coast (my guess is New Jersey) accent of a no nonsense “hard charging” and “can do” executive. I liked both these guys
Overall, I saw an impressive balance between two solid guys – the new CEO pair in the new executive team. Jim Snable being the “product” guy and Bill being the “business” guy. This will either be a home run or a disaster. I like the approach and think it will work.
The underlying tone was “screw you” Oracle you’re old and we got the goods over you. SAP has been quiet of late on specifics except pounding the innovation message. SAP seems to be one of the old school software companies that seemed out of touch with the key trends.
“Oracle Is Thing Of The Past – History Will Play It Out That Way”
Microsoft and Oracle have been making moves lately pushing “purpose built” software for hardware devices. SAP has been the only one without a date at the enterprise software “prom” when it comes to integration with hardware vendors. Although SAP has recently been touting innovation all over the place, many in the industry have been saying “show us the innovation”.
SAP’s new co-CEO partnership will accelerate SAPs innovation capability. They have a interesting dynamic and comprehensive strategy.
On Oracle Bill McDermott throws a haymaker at Oracle when he said
“these are heterogeneous environments (and networks) they don’t buy “a stack” they are buying an idea – a business outcome.. something that can change the way that they (customers) can run their company. To have an open independent business software company that can work with any and all partners to give the customers what they want … (what they want) is the best business idea at the lowest possible cost at the faster time to value – this is the model that we (SAP) believes in.
The old twentieth century model that Oracle has chosen to replicate is one of the past and history will play it out that way.”
Growth Plan – New Strategy – Three Pillars
Pillar 1: On-Premise and On-Demand
SAP has been a leaders for years in business applications for the on-premise world and now they have defined a product strategy going forward to enter the on demand world. They believe in a hybrid approach where enterprise can chose on premise and on demand extensions. They didn’t go into specifics but will make significant product launches for the on-demand space this coming year.
Pillar 2: On-Device
SAP wants to enable their customers to consume SAP software on any device. They have been refining and mastering over the past few years. This plan is based upon the assumption that you abstract the business logic in the application from the front-end logic and that allows you to consume SAP applications on any device. They will allow partners to do the same and hope to grow an ecosystem that innovates the user experience for SAP customers and users. Acquisition of Business Objects and their business analytics is a key part of their user centric value proposition.
Pillar 3: Orchestration
Orchestration of data and business process across the landscape of on-premise, on-device and on-demand software and that the end to end process in in-tact and consistent. To be a leader across SAP and non-SAP applications in the area of master data, synchronization, life cycle management both on-premise and on-demand.
Acceleration Plan – SAP want to leverage agile organization to harness the power of an entrepreneur (startup) with the scale of a big company.
SAP Still Without a Date At The Hardware Dance
Ever since SAP was a young company, they always had an important relationship with hardware vendors such as HP and SUN. Now more than ever SAP needs to figure out their role with the ever changing hardware vendor landscape especially in light of SUN being bought by their arch rival Oracle.
SAP didn’t shed any light on any plans for deeper integration into hardware devices. Although SAP talked about the “new model” of software, they did not talk about the new model in hardware – purpose build hardware with applications build directly to specific hardware platforms.
Here is my direct question on the hardware question. I am guessing that they will do deals with either HP and/or VMware and EMC.
Open and Cloud Plans
SAP seemed very focused and had a good message about being open. If you watch the video you’ll see their new strategy is very counter to Oracle. The cloud messages was not clear but it was talked about mainly as a hybrid approach.
The new big messages that I heard were: we will bring the fight to Oracle and we are open to building a growing ecosystem.
If SAP can truly be open and enable developers plus develop an “angle” with hardware vendors via deeper integration then I see their execution being a success.
It was nice seeing the new unified SAP leadership now they need to “turn up the volume” on specifics and show the execution of their strategy.
Here is the video of their briefing.