Pondering S4 HANA business case realities

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Last August, SAP’s North American User Group (ASUG) went public with important survey findings about building SAP HANA use cases. In subsequent months, DSAG (the German-speaking user group) issued its own survey, and the UK and Ireland SAP User Group (UKISUG) also weighed in on the need for help with building SAP HANA business cases.

I found SAP’s initial reactions unnecessarily defensive. Products have growing pains, and the IT/business divide that contributes to business case problems is not SAP’s fault – though SAP has a big opportunity to help companies change that conversation.

The plot thickened last February, with an over-the-top S/4 HANA product launch event in New York City that was heavy on fanfare and short on product details. Still, when you announce “the most important product launch in 23 years,” that alters the business case discussion.

I thought the Sapphire Now/ASUG annual conference might end up as another tone deaf S/4 HANA love fest, but that was not the case. This time around, SAP stuck the landing, placing customer voices at the center. ASUG also did its part with a far better keynote than in years’ past, with a clearly articulated customer position.

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