2012: A year in review

2012 was another busy year for SAP with further acquisition activity and a number of new product updates being brought to market.  So here is a brief look back at some of the key goings on in the world of SAP over the last 12 months.

In February, SAP’s offer for SuccessFactors was accepted in full. This undoubtedly raised the company’s cloud credentials, but as our recent member survey revealed many users still aren’t clear how the acquisition will benefit their business.

In March SAP unveiled a partnership with Samsung to make its Android devices safer to use as corporate tools.  At the same time the company also announced updates to its Afaria mobile systems management tool – good news for customers who are becoming increasingly mobile.

April saw SAP celebrate its 40th birthday.  What began as a five-man operation is now one of the world’s largest independent software providers!

June saw SAP announcing its intention to buy cloud-based B2B trading network, Ariba.  The acquisition stands to vastly extend SAP’s network of integratable supplier systems, but also complement the company’s cloud strategy. In 2013 we wait to see what this really means for end-users.

In July, SAP announced a stronger-than-expected rise in profits driven by a rise in software sales, with the growing customer demand for cloud solutions being cited as a big reason for this success.

October saw the User Group release the results of our member survey on licensing, which showed a staggering 95% of SAP users believe that the company’s software licensing policy is overly complicated. In 2013 we will  continue to engage with SAP on what is a challenging topic for all concerned

And finally, November brought about the 2012 UK & Ireland SAP User Group Conference. Taking place in Manchester, licensing, mobility and the cloud were some of the big themes covered over the course of the 2 ½ day event. The conference was a great success, and we are already looking forwards to this year’s event in Birmingham.

We are only a couple of weeks into 2013 and it is already looking like it will be another busy 12 months for all things SAP. In addition, this year also sees the 25th anniversary of the UK & Ireland User Group J

Here is to a successful and prosperous 2013!

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It’s cold out there

Happy New year everyone!

As I sit here preparing for falling temperatures and the associated winter weather across the UK and Ireland, I’m reflecting on how this weather reflects our current challenges. It is definitely frosty out there – some massive economic challenges that show little sign of thawing at the moment. It’s going to be a year of further value chasing and value creation for everyone, irrespective of the nature of your organisations.

SAP last week have announced that Business Suite is available on HANA opening up some areas that are worthy of chasing. SAP have been offering Databases for some time, but in my view, never before one that has the potential to change the landscape so markedly. It changes the structure of your solution by offering embedded analytics, throwing into question things like how you use BI functionality and the future of batch jobs – now it is feasible to process the full end to end as it happens – repeatedly. Then there is the question of your database – it’s not the one that you have been using for years, but it is so much quicker and also so much smaller. This brings you to the question of your hardware – which will now different and working in a different way. Oh, and you could also do this in the cloud if you wished. So literally SAP solutions are all change with this announcement, and as a consequence your forward landscape could be all change as well. More importantly your business could be all change as well. Doings things you simply couldn’t before. Don’t underestimate the impact that this could have. Investigate it. And understand.

But change like this needs time and effort, which as we all know is focused on the business at hand, so the real question is likely to be who is brave enough and bold enough to see what these winds of change can bring to the party? My answer to that is people who are close to SAP’s vision of the future. Working with the User Group gives you that advantage – don’t waste it.

I also have a message to SAP – life is very frosty at the moment – you only have to read the press at the moment, and businesses need space to reinvent themselves. With the pricing formula that has been suggested for HANA it goes some of the way to helping – so thank you for listening to the combined User Groups of SUGEN, and those involved in the charters. But it doesn’t stop there – we have talked about some other of the licencing challenges – SAP’s estate is so complicated, with the devil in the detail which leads so often to ill-informed commercial decisions standing in the way of value creation. And value creation is what everyone needs at the moment to allow all of us to break the cycle of contraction, and use that value creation to create a growth cycle. So to contraction. Many of our user group member organisations know only too well about this at the moment, and it has a negative impact on their value creation capabilities when the millstone of unused licences and associated maintenance costs hangs heavy around them. This positioning is driving organisations in a direction that will not help to promote growth, other than in areas that will ultimately remove the possibility of growth through taking advantage of things like Business Suite on HANA off the agenda. SAP, think very carefully about this conundrum, just as many of our User Group member organisations are.

2013 is a significant year for everyone – I believe it is a year that will mark a turning point for many of us, if the levers are correctly activated by all the value partners in our delivery chains. It also marks 25 years as an organisation for us – and I don’t believe we have ever been so well positioned to add and champion value for all our members but…….it is down to our membership how well we all exploit this. Taking part in UG events is critical to both the User Groups well-being and also you and your organisations well-being. Make sure you take advantage of the outstanding value that membership brings. What we do and how we represent the membership is driven by you, and with that in mind we will shortly be sending out our annual survey. This makes it possible for us to reflect what you want and want you need, and also allows us to validate what other sources are saying about the SAP ecosphere. Please don’t consign it to the junk bin, and spend a few minutes answering it for the good of all the membership.

A couple of final thoughts – firstly we always welcome volunteers to help your organisation. If you can help run SIGs, if you can add value at SIGs by sharing, if you can offer venues, if you would like to share something by talking at our conference in November then please either contact the User group office or make yourself known at a SIG. I’ve been volunteering for 10 years and it gives me a real buzz to help others – the first time I stuck my head above the parapet was very challenging, but I’ve never looked back since and I never ever thought I would get an opportunity to Chair an organisation like this. Just do it! Philip Adams our new Chair to be in 2013 – has done just the same.

Secondly our conference – in our 25th Anniversary year I want this to be our best ever conference and all the board, employees and current SIG chairs have their hearts set on doing that. It’s at a wonderful new venue for us at the ICC in Birmingham, and it will be great! So think about this as an opportunity to share in that celebration, an opportunity to share something important to you and others, an opportunity to learn from others, and as so many seem to be doing, an opportunity to reward your teams for their efforts across the year, whilst enhancing their value to you. And book it now, whilst it’s a lower price. You can always change the names later if you need to. Grab the opportunity!

So 2013 is all about you and how you can all work together to secure value. Chase the value. Share. Take part.