UKISUG report continuing issues with indirect access and SAP technology adoption

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This is an excerpt from a recent article by Diginomica following UKISUG Connect 2018. Read the full article on Diginomica's site.

At the opening keynote of UKISUG Connect 2018, user group chairman Paul Cooper reported an improved awareness scorecard for SAP S/4 HANA but a mixed bag of outcomes and low levels of awareness of C4/HANA. At the same time, he said point blank: "It would not be a SAP user group meeting without mention of indirect access."

In her keynote, Adaire Fox-Martin said that indirect access represents an issue that SAP is addressing as part of its execution against CEO Bill McDermott’s mantra of customer empathy.

But talk in the halls was not especially positive with the view among those I asked that SAP has made glacial progress in helping/resolving the indirect access issue. By way of contrast, Matthias Medert, VP global license auditing services was unequivocal on the general audit topic: "For me in an ideal world we would not even need an audit."

Let's pick this all apart.

SAP S/4HANA

s4 hana adoption

To put this in context, two years ago, the ‘yes’ question was only answered in the affirmative by 34% of those surveyed while the ‘nos’ stood at 49%. SAP and the user group can, therefore, take considerable comfort from the change in these results. But outcomes are not quite as spectacular.

s4hana

We should not be surprised by these results. In the world of SAP, it is still very early days in the S/4 implementation cycle, despite reported times to go-live falling dramatically and sales continuing apace.

The impediments to adoption are well understood with fears over cost (32%) and change management requirements (20%) featuring heavily among those who have no plans to make the switch.

SAP C4/HANA

c4hana

Again, these results should not surprise with 51% saying they need more information. This result is made more complicated in the wake of the Qualtrics acquisition announcement and what SAP said about how it is pivoting around YaaS in a conversation with Derek duPreez last month: "With YaaS there were two dimensions to look at. Architecture is one. That has really proven to be correct. And then we applied a go to market commercial thinking to it. And there we learned a lot. We took on that feedback.

"What we did was that we had the hypothesis that this was so disruptive that large companies would not be interested in it for a long time, but rather it had to grow in a more start-up, more open way. We were proven wrong. Because technically speaking, if you have five people sitting in a room building a website, they don’t benefit that much from a microservices architecture. If you have 5,000 developers, hell yeah, your productivity will go through the roof if you can parallelise their work through a microservices architecture…

"…It brings a number of innovations to Cloud Platform and C/4 HANA. One, this idea of a loosely coupled, event based integration. So all of these C/4 HANA applications and also S4 and others, they can simply connect into Extension Factory through events. Much more decoupled. That means you can also extend a main monolithic application, maybe even an on prem application, with microservices, in a gradual way."

These technical changes are important to SAP customers who will not want to be heading down a dead-end path. Right now, the world of microservices, serverless, Kubernetes and other tech buzzwords du jour are not well understood in the world of SAP. But there is excitement among SAP’s army of ABAP developers that they can extend with SAP Cloud Platform. the question comes – will it all hang together? Phil Wainewright, with some reservations, is optimistic: "SAP outlined an alluring vision today but it has to show it can execute on the detail. While the integration is there in principle, it’s currently out of reach for many customers, and much of it has yet to be turned into proven, deliverable use cases that work in the real world."

But again, it’s not a done deal and, in any event, we’d expect SAP customers to at least look at alternatives like Salesforce.

Read the full article on Diginomica's site, including discussions around indirect access, Brexit and more.

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