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As I began preparing my cloud presentation for upcoming events, I reviewed my SAPPHIRE blog to see what had changed since May.  As one would hope, the only major difference was execution.  In other words, in May we talked about developing a cloud product for financials.  In the meantime, the product has already launched!  What is it that allows us to remain so consistent?  Consider our unique competitive position in the cloud as summarized below:

SAP has a seat in the boardroom of Fortune 2000 companies.  We are committed to the cloud and uniquely positioned to help our customers leverage the cloud without disruption. SAP in respect to cloud is now the grown up in the room. Boardrooms around the world are making the decision to invest in the cloud. And no one knows the boardroom like SAP. The cloud offers real advantages and opportunities.  Few companies are better positioned than SAP to help customers take advantage… and reap the benefits… of this next logical step in their IT strategy.  SAP has over 4 decades of experience in serving the world’s largest and most complex companies.  This experience spans every industry and line-of-business and this at the business process level. These benefits include the ability to do more with less, to grab new business opportunities in a more nimble way without being disrupted or hindered by the need for IT to play catch-up, and lastly to encourage far more fluid collaboration and decision-making within a team, department or entire organization.

SAP addresses the cloud from the enterprise level in as opposed to the niche departmental level out. The reality is that our nearly two hundred thousand customers worldwide have made huge investments in their business software infrastructure. This is not going away in the near future. Nonetheless, they are eagerly looking to extend and improvethe use of these applications through the use of cloud solutions; especially in areas like HR and customer-relationship management. This is where cloud adoption is at its fastest and most enthusiastic. Hence, this is where SAP, SuccessFactors and soon Ariba come in.

  • With the combination of deep business process know-how, nimbleness and sheer pace of innovation, SAP is now looking at a completely new ball game. In other words, we now have nearly 4,500 cloud experts (soon 7,000) focused on bringing the broadest AND deepest cloud portfolio to market.
  • 17 million users and counting. Our focus is on solutions that help customers manage their most important assets.  This is also where we see the fastest and most enthusiastic adoption of cloud: People (HCM), Customers (CRM) , Suppliers (SCM+SRM) and Money (Financials). Specifically, in the People space, this is very significant as every single employee in an organization touches the application.  These processes flow through the very heart of a company.
  • Integration is key as customer have invested in their on-premise systems over years to enable their core business processes and hence hybrid IT landscapes across on-premise, cloud and mobile will continue to be a norm as customers adopt cloud solutions.

The cloud is excellent for some areas of a business, and on-premise continues to be the norm for others. We live in a hybrid reality.SAP can bring the advantages of cloud to our customers to consume as they need it and when they are ready for them. Combining a cloud solution with your existing on premise investment is key. There is no value in ripping out your existing solution – loosing decades of valuable data. The best outcome is achieved when you combine – best practices and best processes with people centric best of topic solutions – delivered via the cloud with fast innovation.A Different Approach to Apps: Social, Mobile, Analytics and Big Data Built Right inAlthough the market sees social, mobile and big data as separate trends, SAP sees all of them as essential elements of our cloud solutions.  Our cloud solutions are designed to work the way people do. Just see it in action.  In fact, the solutions have been designed in close collaboration with our co-innovation customers and partners. This ensures they truly fit the needs of the business.

  • We design, and deliver, beautiful cloud solutions as a loosely coupled Suite. With this approach, customers can adopt services at their own pace and in their own way. When combined, however, these solutions offer the value proposition of a suite. Furthermore, they are intuitive and fun to use.  This helps drive adoption within a company.
  • We offer standard integration with the SAP Business Suite (on-premise) to support the hybrid landscapes of customers. Specifically, we offer Integration as a Service from SAP or from partners. After all, much of the world will remain hybrid for a long while. Where this isn’t the case, we lead with the cloud option.
  • We offer a unified and open platform for our customers and partners to create and run new apps in the cloud and/or extend SAP cloud solutions. See our latest on our PaaS offering via SAP NetWeaver Cloud.
  • To take social to the next level, we are working on an open platform.  The objective is to eliminate social silos inside and outside the company.  Social should be in the fabric of every solution. This will create an aggregated, open and seamless experience across SAP and ecosystem applications. We are putting the “Business” back in Social.
  • We will continue to offer fully integrated suites for mid-market customers, subsidiaries of large enterprise (ByD) and small customers (B1 OnDemand). Not only is there a huge potential for modern solutions in the mid market, but also larger companies need solutions for Two Tier ERP to increase efficiency.

Our agenda is customer focused and people centric. We deliver software solutions for companies of all sizes, industries and in every region. With our cloud approach, customers now have a one-stop shop – one hand to shake – which can be seamlessly integrated with their on-premise landscapes. Customers no longer need to look beyond SAP. We feel strongly that this strategy sets us apart from the competition in several important ways.

In closing, please don’t interpret “consistency of execution” with “nothing new to say”.  On the contrary, you won’t want to miss the next level of detail we will be exposing at Tech Ed, HR Tech, SAPPHIRE Madrid, User group meetings, ….  At SAPPHIRE Orlando in May, for example, we only briefly mentioned our next generation cloud platform.  Wait until you see what our customers and partners have already begun building with it!

Blogging for you soon Sven Denecken (follow me on twitter @SDenecken)