Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2010: five-year enterprise software plan

Early in December along an annual SAP Influencer Summit in Boston; SAP has published their so called five year enterprise software plan. Usually those are announcements that are kind of controversy. There are a lot of critics and especially skeptics about this plan. A lot of gossips are spread saying that in some of areas SAP is too behind the others on the market and so on. The plan seems to be that SAP is trying hard to catch some new trends and technologies. So what are the next big thing according SAP? Here we go:

1. Integrated business analytics – More and more business analytics will continue to be integrated with SAP's products. E.g. financial applications will be added with tools allow users do on the fly calculation and analysis regardless of where un/structured data resides.

2. On-demand computing - SAP plans for year 2010 are to release an on-demand Supply Chain Management (SCM) app., sales automation, travel and expense, services management and an app. called project Kona that will allow users to quickly adopt BusinessObjects (BOBJ) software.

3. Cloud architectures – Currently this is the most painful area. SAP is very late with their SaaS application Business ByDesign (BBD) which is still not stable enough to be rolled up for regular sale to customers. Anyway SAP is saying that they are still quite calm about “clouding” and they see sense of it only for small customers while those bigger one are not willing to step up the cloud and to replace their current apps. Therefore here SAP is advising kind of “stepwise-migration” approach to cloud computing.

4. Flexible pricing – We could see kind of problems with maintenance fee (enterprise support) this year. SAP was trying to increase those fees while several users’ groups were strictly against it. It seems that SAP is fully aware that this is not a proper way how to treat customers and new pricing models will be introduced soon. E.g. “pay as you go” for customers as they grow with their SAP applications or “term/subscription -based” licenses.

5. Mobile and in-memory computing – Mobile apps. are penetrating everywhere and there must be an information supply for those app. That’s why SAP seems these demands and trying to supply it. On other hand in-memory computing is just continuation of SAP’s vision of real-time computing (see book Real Time: A Tribute to Hasso Plattner). SAP started to accelerate their SAP BW system by new technology where data of data warehouse are stored persistently in operational memory of servers. Here it seems that they see other area where similar concept can be used.

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