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The world seems ready to run simple – but still has some questions on how to do it.


Since I started working at SAP in 2011, I have seen great change in our mindset and in the way we understand our business, our customer, our mission. And I don’t doubt for one second that businesses desperately need that – find ways to run more simple in a world of increasing complexity and even complication.

With the new solution portfolio on SAP HANA, we want to help the world run faster, run better and importantly: simpler. S4/Hana, Simple Finance, the Business Network and all the additions to the new suite that have yet to be revealed, promise lightning-fast processes on a single database that enables businesses to work in realtime and focus on what they do best. The vision of SAP is nothing less than the perfect industry – which Thack Brown on his keynote in SAPInsider GRC2015 described in this way:

“That’s […] the perfect enterprise: A single data platform, 40 years of rich history now moving in real time. And extending that capability outside the four walls of the company so that I can interact with my partners, my suppliers, in a digital and paper free world – In realtime.”

As beautiful as this sounds – the path is yet to walk and the road might be bumpy in the beginning. While we tend to think in strategies, benefits, value propositions, customers often think in somewhat more practical dimensions and are, in my experience by far more painpoint-oriented then solution strategists think. Their world is filled with existing competitor contracts, migration paths, ROIs, Budgets, project scales, functionality gaps, user complaints and so forth. Some solution buyers regularly lose battles against “Never-touch-A-running-system” – mindsets. And some find themselves in situations which make them think that this kind simplification just can’t happen for them because they are part of a too complex industry. Not having the right answers for these kind of issues will ultimately mean losing the deal. And although some questions about the way to S4/Hana have been identified and a lot have been answered the overall picture for the customer is not yet clear enough.

The starting point is amazing nonetheless – even many sceptic voices acknowledge that there is an enormous potential in S4/HANA and the overall run simple movement. A Blog Post by technology blogger and freelance writer Chris Maxcer describes a few of the Roadblocks summarising mainly that issues of functionality, availability, pricing and migration are still uncertain – but still comes to the conclusion that S4/Hana will probably mean an exciting time for the whole SAP family. You can also find many optimistic voices in the field. And while Gartner advises to wait up on investing into S4/Hana because of the open questions, it still recognizes the transformationel shift it will offer for SAP customers.

The journey is clearly everybody’s. And we need to be ready for it. There is still a lot to learn about the ‘next generation SAP Solutions’. We need to answer our customers questions, solve their problems and guide them on the road to S4/HANA. We need the use cases, we need the stories and we need to understand the world from their perspective so we can show them efficiently how they can run more simple. And as always we need all of that before our competitors finds ways to block our path. Because they certainly will be ready. Sounds simple enough. But where to begin?

Seems to me that SAPPHIRE NOW is a good place to focus our attention on – as I understand we have a really amazing one coming up when speaking of Simple Finance and S4/Hana. My colleage Neil gives a great impression on what will be seen there in the area of simple finance and of course S4/HANA will be no stranger to SAPPHIRE NOW as well. It sounds just great – and it certainly should be. Because we will not only ones looking there. Our customers and competitors will take a deep look as well.

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