Last week, I attended SAP’s Industry Analyst Conference in Las Vegas. For those that have never attended an analyst conference, they are typically crammed with 2 days of high-level vision and strategy (and same the old buzzwords) and little on actual customer experiences, value impact or service excellence.
Although SAP is outpacing their arch-nemesis Oracle in the applications space, and their ESA (Enterprise Services Architecture) vision is a solid strategy for existing customers that have already sank millions in SAP, I was quite surprised in their lack of focus on what many customers are demanding today — applications that can be easily turned on and off with highly configurable options and rapid payback (I actually saw one slide that stated a payback in 3.4 years). Instead, they are singularly focused on offering a business process platform (NetWeaver) bundled with hundreds of pre-defined "services" combined with ‘X-Apps’ (a fancy name for packaging customized application functionality).
So…back to the question…has SAP started to ignore the HR suite? SAP has developed some strong integrated functionality in their HR and CM applications and have a great opportunity in front of them with many People soft customers expressing serious concerns. SAP, though, seems to be missing the boat. They have buried their CM solutions within the behemoth ERP tower (even PALM has their own tower) and during the 2 day showcase of their vision, they talked about HCM only about 15 minutes total.
The light bulb went off in my head when Intel, one of their marquee customers, took the stage. Out of Intel’s 120K employees, only about 11K are "live" on SAP. That is less than 10% of employees using SAP (many though may be touching SAP behind the scenes). Why doesn’t SAP go after the other 90%? Isn’t that a huge upside potential? Couldn’t the HCM suite be the solution that expands their user footprint to potentially reach the entire workforce? I guess the only answers are; 1) they don’t care about adding additional users (which seems to be the answer) , 2) they can’t support additional users on their existing infrastructure, or 3) they don’t know how to monetize additional users. I would sure like to know that answer!