There are many reasons why the user group surveys from around the world tell the same or similar story. But I recently heard a different story from Newcastle University. The story should give SAP customers who are on the fence reason for reconsidering their position. It should also serve as a lesson for SAP in how it goes forward.
Andy Steer, CTO itelligence UK, the SIs in the deal, pinged me about this story. While I will be referring to elements of our conversation, I will not be quoting Steer because there were many intertwining parts that necessarily are not ready for public disclosure. The case wasn’t presented on the main stage but as a session during this week’s conference. Given the welter of facts, the rationale behind the business case and the contributing factors that have got the story to where it is, its relegation to a side room is a major lost opportunity for SAP customers. Here’s why, set out in bullet point style.
The case study makes clear and Steer confirmed that Newcastle University has not got all the moving parts in place. There are some important assumptions that need testing but it appears the business case stands up well for ROI/TCO purposes. The timeline is aggressive but I get the impression Steer is confident they can make it fly. The proof will come when the hammer is brought down in July, 2016.
It isn’t. In large measure and at a technical level, the story is about ‘speeds and feeds’ a topic we’ve heard about for many years and of which we, and customers, are thoroughly bored. The crucial difference comes in the fact that Newcastle University sees clear business value beyond refreshing the SAP estate that can be understood by business leaders. Talking about minimal student wait times, service delivery improvement, capacity planning improvements and the ability to deploy mobile applications are all things that make business sense and are readily understood. It is a very different conversation than one that focuses on a report running in 11 seconds. What’s more, the POC results support those business use cases in spectacular fashion. Over arching all of this, the business case was built around demonstrable pain points.
One quote that’s worth including. Alan Cecchini, SAP development manager at Newcastle University said:
Incremental change is achievable. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the technology and buzzwords from SAP. This can make you suffer from inertia.
For the future, Steer thinks there is good value to be had from experimenting with predictive analytics and has already done some work with his old alma mater at Plymouth University on this topic. Again this is about business case delivery so while it is early days, there is much to look forward towards.
It remains to be seen if SAP can make sense of how cases like this university, augmented by a dose of reality from those on the ground, and project follow through can transform the conversations SAP needs to have with the many customers who don’t ‘get’ it. The clues are all there.
Disclosure: SAP is premier partner at time of writing.< Back to all news
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