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This week, SAP CTO Vishal Sikka asked the community to come up with ideas for what he should say in his keynote at SAP TechEd Bangalore. And since TechEd is a mere 2 weeks before Christmas, I thought that Vishal might have some Christmas presents for us all.

Here’s my wish list for Sinta Vishal! I was going to model it around the 12 days of Christmas but I got stuck at 9. So here we go!

1) Open Source SAPUI5

SAPUI5 is an awesome piece of technology, but the licensing around it is confusing for customers. It is the basis for both Fiori apps, which are licensable, and most SAPUI5 apps require a SAP core license of some kind (depending on the type of app, the license will vary). Put another way, when customers implement SAPUI5 apps, SAP wins.

And especially since there is a decline in SAP’s core license numbers as of this year (which was expected, but still), SAPUI5 is super-relevant to generating growth in the core and renewal of ERP apps.


So why does SAP confuse customers with the license strategy? Instead, they are reducing the number of implementations and therefore the revenue they can get from core licenses (or even the use of shelf ware!). John Patterson talks about it here. SAP needs to Open Source SAPUI5.

2) Release SAP HANA VMWare support in production

Arne Arnold tells us that “it’s just a matter of time” but that’s not an announcement. I was architecting a landscape for a customer today which has a total of 44 different SAP on HANA systems, many of which are small. With VMWare, I can virtualize all of these and assign a number of cores to them (10 cores = 256GB). Instead of a ton of systems, I lose a bit of performance and have fewer virtual servers.

Arne explains that there are a set of KPIs for VMWare to hit, and my VMWare friends tell me that they have met them… so let’s have it announced!

3) Announce simplification to the HANA cloud strategy

SAP have a great HANA cloud strategy now with the HANA Enterprise Cloud, the HANA Cloud Platform, the HANA Cloud Enterprise Platform (no wait… did I make that one up?). It reminds me of the People’s Liberation Front of Judea! But it is confusing and Richard Hirsch nails it in his 50 First Dates post. Bjoern Goerke responds in the comments that these problems have been solved and if they have been, then the messaging needs to be improved to suit.

4) Demo SAP Lumira Server on Big Data

SAP Lumira Server has been pre-announced and there is an installation guide on the web. From this guide you can see how much potential Lumira Server has – you can build web apps based on HANA models and genuine Big Data Apps. I’ve not had access to it yet but I can see the massive potential for building in-memory Big Data applications.

There is potential to build a Big Data model based on publicly available data sets and show the potential of this amazing product!

5) Announce support of IBM p-Series on HANA

There has been a lot of talk around HANA on IBM p-Series – Ken Tsai (VP of HANA Product Marketing) talked about it earlier this year, and so did Amit Sinha (SVP of Database & Technology Product Marketing) “[HANA] on Power is a research project currently sponsored at Hasso Plattner Institute. We await results from that to take next meaningful steps jointly with IBM”. There’s even a HANA on Power blog!

I’ve been told that a deal with IBM around HANA on Power is near and I think this provides choice for customers. I’m personally not a big fan of HANA on Power because it is an enormously expensive proprietary platform that provides much less value for money than Intel E7, but there are customers who think that the superior fault tolerance and availability of p-Series, and perhaps their estate of monitoring tools and engineers, means that they want p-Series.

6) Provide a free download of SAP HANA for developers

SAP has done a great job of building cloud developer environments for SAP HANA, but there are tons of developers with Linux systems and lots of memory that want to run HANA. I’ve banged on about this for a long time and it’s time to provide a download of SAP HANA for developers.

Some people are worried about the lack of control in developer workstations, but IBM DB2 BLU is already available for free download as a developer edition as a trial. SAP need to follow suit.

7) Redefine developer experience and engagement

I have been incredibly excited this year with what SAP has done with the education problem. They created OpenSAP, which dared to undermine their revenue-generating Education department with free MOOC training and certification. This is an incredibly bold thing to do and I salute them.

The same needs to be done with developer experience and engagement because there are a collection of developer groups – from the Startup Program, the SAP Mentor Program, the Blogger Program and various developer relations programs. I believe there is an opportunity in 2014 to redefine what developer and influencer engagement looks like and change it from within.

8) Get Serious about Cloud

In many ways SAP has gotten serious about cloud. So SAP paid $4.5bn for Ariba, and $3.4bn for Successfactors, and those acquisitions have defined SAP’s cloud strategy in many ways. In the meantime, the SAP Business ByDesign has been quietly sidelined and I have no doubt that it will arise from the ashes in some format.

But there is an elephant in the room. SAP’s core license revenue is on the decline. They have an amazing product, SAP HANA, which has created record-breaking revenues and has a run-rate of over $1bn, and HANA makes the overall number look better. In the meantime, outgoing co-CEO Jim-Hagemann-Snabe talks to us about how Cloud is a Fundamental Transition. And yet, SAP HANA is only available in the cloud for a 64GB SAP HANA One “starter” license. Can SAP make the announcement the SAP HANA will be available in a subscription model for all customers?

And if we’re going to go there, why can’t I buy my SAP Business Suite, in the HANA Enterprise Cloud, priced by the user… or transaction… or revenue I generate… or profit my company makes? This is the logical conclusion of the Cloud model, and if SAP wants to lead in the Cloud, SAP needs to lead boldly. Maybe I’m going too far there right now – but this is the model that competitors already use.

9) Give Mobile some Love!

SAP is the biggest Enterprise Mobile software company in the world. My team built a mobile app for TechEd Amsterdam that was built on SAP technologies – SAP HANA, SAPUI5 and Fiori. And mobile matters – you can argue that everything should be mobile, but SAP has the market leading mobile platform and this is worth talking about. There is a new version, SAP Mobile Platform 3.0, and it’s worth making some noise about it.

Final Words

SAP is in an incredibly interesting place – a traditional on-premise software company that is trying to make the inevitable transition into the cloud. The fact that SAP has done this so far, with 23% of revenue from the cloud, whilst barely missing a quarter, is testimony to the leadership.

I hope that Vishal can continue this journey with some bold announcements at SAP TechEd Bangalore!

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5 Comments

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  1. Tom Van Doorslaer

    Fully agree on all points.

    My personal interest though, is on the convergence of the HANA Cloud Solutions, the medium size market apps (Would BbyD arise from the ashes as SAPUI5 mobile enabled apps on the HANA Cloud Platform/solution/whatever and converge with the OnDemand solutions?)

    So that would be points 1,3,8 and 9 🙂

    Now link this through to “Your own, Personal, Keynote”

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