Will SAP Business Suite on HANA suffer the same uncertainty as Oracle Fusion?

The back and forth around Oracle’s spanking from Forrester raised many interesting questions in back channels. The latest addition to the conversation from Frank Scavo makes the point that:

…the success of Oracle’s Apps Unlimited policy is the primary inhibitor of Oracle Fusion Applications adoption. Enterprise applications are sticky. It is difficult enough for vendors to get customers make a change, even when vendors announce end of support for an existing product. Imagine how hard it is to get customers to take action when you are promising them continued investment in their existing products.

Frank’s analysis got me thinking about what might happen as SAP rolls out Business Suite on HANA (BS/H.) My initial thinking was that the relative success of BusinessSuite with Enhancement Packs might act as an inhibitor in much the same way that Frank suggests is happening for Oracle.

SAP only announced BS/H availability last month and it has already polarized the analyst community. At this stage it is too early to offer a definitive opinion. We really need to learn about customer acceptance and war stories. Those stories should start trickling through at the next SAPPHIRE.  Even so, the point is worth considering and one that I put to Vijay Vijayasankar, one of SAP’s latest signings.

Side note: for those that don’t know, Vijay is a good friend who, while at IBM, provided tremendous field level insights and was a valuable contributor to the JD-OD wrap shows.

Vijay identifies MRP run on demand as a use case where customers can make immediate savings in capital tied up in the business. That will come as a surprise to some but plays well to the manufacturing companies that have been among SAP’s oldest and most loyal customers. Vijay says the company has identified 23 use cases. I’d like to know more. He also explains that because BS/H comes with some prepackaged analytics capability, controllers (for example) do not need to wait for IT to build operational reports. That will be welcome.

On his personal blog, Vijay talks in broad strokes about how BS/H together with Business Warehouse on HANA (BW/H) and analytics capability provides the foundation for a number of possible use cases where the amount of manual effort to realise value is modest. What he doesn’t explain though is the extent to which customers will need to re-implement and the extent to which customisations are supported in BS/H.

Despite Vijay’s optimism I still wonder just how much traction SAP can get with BS/H in a market that has become fatigued. At the last earnings call, Jim Snabe, SAP’s co-CEO was very bullish about the prospects for HANA. To add an intriguing twist, it was noticeable that user groups were not as vociferous about a recent price hike announcement for SAP Standard Support. Given that enhancements come with SAP support one has to assume that customers are broadly satisfied with what they’re getting.

As always, the proofs will come later in the year. One thing is certain:  SAP will have to be very convincing in its articulation of use cases at a time when customers are more concerned about outcomes and where the hype around HANA has become a tad stale.

In the meantime. enjoy the video with Vishal Sikka, SAP executive board member and my colleague Jon Reed.

Related stories you might like: Fast Is Not A Number – Jim Spath asks pointed questions about the realité of BS/H

2 thoughts on “Will SAP Business Suite on HANA suffer the same uncertainty as Oracle Fusion?

  1. Pingback: CIOs and CMOs in a tug of war? Doh! | #evilplans

  2. Pingback: CIOs and CMOs in a tug of war? Doh! | diginomica

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