SAP Watch

Dec 10 2009   7:21PM GMT

What do you want to see from SAP?

CourtneyBjorlin Courtney Bjorlin Profile: CourtneyBjorlin

SAP executive Jim Hagemann Snabe closed his keynote at this week’s Influencer Summit with an interesting notion –“I hope to see users that are emotional, in a positive way, about using SAP software.”

There was plenty of emotion to go around in Boston this past week.

You’ve probably gathered by now that there were two SAP-related conferences being held in town this week. Downtown was SAP’s own conference, called the SAP Influencer Summit, at which it talked about its strategy and product roadmap for the year. Across the Charles River in Cambridge, there was something new called “Sapience.”

Leading up to the events, Sapience had gained a reputation of being the “anti-SAP,” conference. That really couldn’t have been further from the truth. It was aimed largely at giving SAP customers options for saving money and freeing up cash for innovation, from application strategies to working with consultants and systems integrators to maintenance.

Ultimately, it was aimed at helping SAP shops get more out of their SAP application investments.

Meanwhile, the theme of the SAP Influencer Summit was “The Clear Path Forward.” Sapience means “wisdom.” And it became clear from Sapience that in order to really move the company forward, SAP really needs to rely on some of the wisdom from the past.

I’ve been told that it’s clear that there are some within the organization — such as Snabe — who really want to refocus on building customer relationships, and on strengthening SAP’s legacy of listening to its customers and delivering on its promises.

“We know businesses. We know how to create value. We stay with our customers and never leave them [that] kind of approach,” Snabe said when asked about SAP’s culture during a press conference.

Getting SAP to deliver on its promises is what customers want of their vendor at the very least, according to enterprise application analyst Ray Wang. Survey research he presented during his keynote at Sapience showed that customers’ number one concern is on reducing the cost of ownership and complexity of their systems.

SAP says it’s getting that message. At the Influencer Summit, executives said that helping customers reduce the total cost of ownership will come through innovating via on-demand SAP application extensions, the cloud, mobile and in-memory databases.

What would you like to see from SAP in 2010?

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