Home Will SAP CEO Shakeup Lead to a Unified Cloud Computing Strategy?

Will SAP CEO Shakeup Lead to a Unified Cloud Computing Strategy?

The rise of cloud computing looks like it has lead to the fall of SAP CEO Léo Apotheker, who resigned over the weekend.

It’s not that cloud computing has been absent at SAP. There are a number of efforts underway. But it’s the lack of any unified strategy that is most notable.

“They have been exploring the cloud,” said Ray Wang of the Altimeter Group. “It’s how quickly they have responded is the question of contention.”

SAP’s headquarters are in Germany, and Wang says that may have contributed to the company’s scattered approach to cloud computing. Compared to the United States, Europe is more concerned about privacy issues, which leads to questions about the path a company can take: Private cloud? Public cloud? Hybrid? This may reflect somewhat on SAP’s hesitancy.

John Wookey, a former Oracle executive, is leading SAP’s cloud computing efforts. At the SAP Influencer Summit in Boston last December, Wookey said that SAP would open its Frictionless Commerce platform to developers. In 2014 the company will release its next generation technology, according to Wang. The idea is to leapfrog what we see today in SaaS offerings.

Today, though, customers are speaking out. They were hit last year with higher maintenance fees. They have been pretty vocal about their discontent. For SAP’s part, the company is starting to acknowledge it has made mistakes.

What do customers want? Wang said they want to run their operations in a cost efficient manner and augment what they already have with SAP. That means a unified cloud offering, not a scattered approach like what they see now.

In contrast, a company like IBM looks unified in its approach to cloud computing. You can build, host and partner with IBM. Its offerings are diverse yet unified. You know that IBM has a focus on the cloud. That’s not so clear as with SAP.

Currently it’s the SaaS players in the market that are the most exciting ones to watch. Plex, Workday and NetSuite are targeting the SAP customer base.

They are ready competitors even if incoming co-CEO Bill McDermott doesn’t think so.

Here’s what he had to say in an interview last January with John Foley:

“McDermott contends that now more than ever companies need a full-featured, integrated applications platform for running global business operations — mySAP, for example — not half-baked applications from unproven SaaS upstarts. He points to SAP’s 36 years of experience developing a “stable core” of enterprise software and a service-oriented architecture that makes it easy to add on third-party and custom applications. “It will take another 36 years for software-as-a-service vendors to do the same thing in the cloud,” he says.”

Thirty-six years? That has to be an exaggeration.

We’ll have to see what happens. But without a unified strategy cloud computing, SAP’s future does not look as exciting as the emerging SaaS players in the market.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.