More on S/4HANA at TechEd?

Apple announced the iPhone 6s on September 9. It went on sale couple of weeks later and 3 days later it announced it had sold 13 million units – the strongest weekend sales of any product in Apple’s history. All that in less than a month!

Apple has certainly raised the bar for product launches, and I certainly did not expect SAP to come anywhere close when it launched S/4HANA in February.

Still I was excited when CEO Bill McDermott called it in New York “our biggest launch in 23 years, if not in the entire history of the company”. It prompted me to start writing SAP Nation 2.0 and while there were plenty of questions after the New York event I expected SAP would have a much better, indeed a proper re-launch of S/4 at SapphireNow in Orlando in May.

As that turned out, McDermott waited 20 minutes into his Orlando kickoff keynote speech to even mention S/4. He joked about the unwieldy product name, and after a few minutes punted it to the CTO, Bernd Leukert to cover the details on the next day. Leukert, an engineer, should probably have not been assigned the S/4 sales job. He emphasized that unique functionality for 25 industries would be included in the product release. In New York, Dr. Hasso Plattner had initially said only a handful of industries were in its scope.

More confusion.

In July, Rob Enslin, SAP’s President of Global Customer said “Yes, all of the [more than 900 S/4j deals are all on-premise. Our cloud piece for S/4, we’re taking it step- by-step for now.” S/4 was supposed to take SAP’s R/3/ECC customers into the cloud.

More confusion.

Simple Logistics, a significant portion of S/4, was supposed to be released this month, so maybe TechEd in Las Vegas this week will share some details.

In the meantime, I had gone ahead and released 2.0 in August and concluded

“Given all this, SAP needs to revisit its “circle.” That will mean changing the scope of S/4, rethinking the ecosystem and investing in more automation to help customer migrations and operations. Another area where SAP could make its “problem bigger” is in creating customer urgency. it has been pitching the time/speed dimension around HANA and should also apply that logic to S/4 adoption. The early results suggest S/4 adoption may follow a trajectory similar to the slow pace of NetWeaver, BYD and HANA adoption in the last decade.”

And in August, I had no idea Apple would have an even more impressive product launch with 6s. The bar for urgency has been raised even further.

(Cross-posted @ Deal Architect)

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