SAP Watch

Nov 22 2008   12:03PM GMT

Partly cloudy for SAP?

JackDanahy Jack Danahy Profile: JackDanahy

Cloud computing is starting to take shape for SAP.

SAP co-CEO Leo Apotheker was in New York Friday, presiding over a forum at the company’s New York City office called “Why investing in IT makes sense in troubled times.” And during the forum, attention turned to SAP’s recent investment in developing on-demand applications for large companies.

Apotheker declined to provide much detail on the projects John Wookey, the newly appointed vice president of on-demand for large enterprises, would be working on first.

But he did give some insight on what exactly SAP might mean by “on-demand.”

“There’s one thing that all of us in the enterprise software business didn’t do well, for lack of trying,” he said. They focused on functionality at the expense of figuring out how to make software “easy for people to actually consume,” Apotheker said.

“We understand that, and we will make sure that you can actually consume real software,” he said.

However — don’t expect them to float everything in ERP in the cloud.

“There are certain things you can not run in the cloud because the cloud would collapse. It’s simple,” he said. “Don’t believe that any utility company is going to run its billing for 50 million consumers in the cloud.”

“I believe, and John is there to help us, what we can do is to combine the two worlds,” he said, giving customers a choice, while helping them maintain core competencies and competitive advantage.

Plus, he said, they couldn’t be “arrogant” to believe that every customer would want to run everything in the cloud. 

The two customers sitting on the panel with him — Naomi Wyatt, secretary of administration for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Partha Biswas, VP and CIO of JoernsHealthcare, agreed.

 Wyatt said while there was no way she wanted some of the state’s very sensitive data in the cloud, she might be willing to push some business intelligence capabilities there.

“I love the cloud,” Wyatt said. “I don’t want that information in the cloud…but there are some light things that maybe we do want out there.”

It will be interesting to see how these efforts start to take shape at SAP, and, to see what Wookey gets to work on first.

“I’m very happy John Wookey joined us,” Apotheker said. “I’m sure he’ll find his time with SAP usefully spent.”

Courtney Bjorlin, News Editor

Please look to this week for more news from CEO Leo Apotheker and SAP’s forum “Why investing in IT makes sense in troubled times.

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