Tag Archives: SAP

AribaLIVE 2015 – The Complex Reality of Networked Business Commerce

This year’s AribaLIVE event opened Wednesday with a performance by Ariba client Cirque du Soleil, complete with steampunk-style animated sky-sailing ships, stage smoke, haunting music, dramatic narration, and acrobatics. As I tweeted from the event:

#VoyageofDiscovery theme w/Cirque du Soleil opening #AribaLIVE. Smoke, acrobatics, complexity, fog. Perfect allegory for #Finance today

Anchored by Ariba SVP and CMO Tim Minahan, Wednesday’s opening session – and the second-day opener as well – was replete with stories of real-world business improvement through innovative applications of spend-management solutions. Experiences ranged from AIG finding the potential to save $70M simply by formalizing procurement to utilizing supply-chain sourcing management to reduce and hopefully end modern slavery. In sum, Ariba did more than one would think possible to make some of the most mundane aspects of Finance management – e.g., procurement, spending, sourcing, invoicing, payment – compelling.

What was most compelling for me was first, the increasingly interactive, and increasingly complex, networked nature of these routine-yet-critical aspects of Finance and commerce; and second, Ariba’s grasp of the need to both enable and leverage that increasing complexity to improve business for its clients and for itself via the Ariba Business Network concept and model.

For Ariba, to paraphrase both Scott McNealy and Bob Metcalfe, “The network is the business.” And everything about AribaLIVE 2015 themes, sessions, and discussions was built around The Network: how to use it, link with it, take Continue reading

On The Road With Finance

What is Happening?

Over the past two weeks, Saugatuck has been on the road participating in a range of roadshow briefings and online webinars with CFOs, as well as in the opening keynote panel at a major finance-focused conference called FINANCE2015. Sponsored by SAP, and held at the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas, the conference brought together 2,000+ finance and IT execs, to learn about the future of finance systems.

While SAP announced a number of new products at the conference, based on conversations with prospects and clients, the big takeaway was the growing momentum it seems to be getting for its Simple Finance offering (announced in mid-2014 – see Lens360 blog post “Large-Enterprise Financials – A Less Scary Path to the Future,” 15Oct2014), which is the first instantiation of its new S4/HANA architecture. This Research Alert highlights some key takeaways from the events, along with some of the research that Saugatuck shared during the recent roadshow and at the conference, and a recent webinar for another client.

Why is it Happening?

In December 2014, Saugatuck published the results of a web survey it conducted with more than 300 senior Finance and IT executives. While readers can learn more about the broader research program results by going to a Research Alert published in mid-December (see “Financials in the Cloud – New Survey Insights” (1493RA, 18Dec2014) – we wanted to highlight one of the questions here that focused on impending demand across a range of finance functions over the short and mid-term.

Figure 1: Finance in the Cloud – Pace of Adoption by Sub-Function

1547RA - chart1

Source: Saugatuck Technology. Cloud in Finance survey, (CFO-only responses), N=162, North America (Dec. 2014)

There is little doubt that the Third Wave of Cloud Business Solution demand has begun, with more than 50 percent of Finance and IT execs indicating that they are either currently evaluating, or planning to replace their current Financial Systems within the next 24 months. But the sandbox called “Financial Systems” is indeed very wide and very Continue reading

Mocana Partners with SAP to Boost Mobile Productivity

Mocana began as a technology provider of embedded systems security in 2004. Over the years Mocana has broadened its scope and identified two potential markets to address: one, the need to protect mobile devices and, two, to protect apps and the data on them. Mocana launched its Mobile Application Protection platform in 2011 with support for Android apps, and added iOS app support in 2012.

In 2012 Mocana raised $25 million in Series D funding, bringing total investment to $47 million, to expand its opportunity around its Mobile App Protection software. Trident Capital led the round, joined by existing investors Intel Capital, Shasta Ventures, Southern Cross Venture Partners and Symantec.

Mocana’s nearly two-year partnership with SAP, launched in May 2013, has taken a back seat to SAP’s single-minded focus on promoting its HANA platform. However, over the past twenty months, Mocana Atlas has emerged as a leading platform for delivering secure, high-productivity mobile integration with SAP solutions.

Mocana recently commissioned a research study designed to validate its economic benefit and now stakes a claim to user productivity improvements leading to improved application time to market and and cost savings resulting from that.

According to Ranjeet Vidwans, vice president of marketing at Continue reading

SAP S/4HANA is More Core Business Re-invention

What is Happening?

At the New York Stock Exchange this Tuesday morning, SAP took the wraps off of the most substantial overhaul of its core business management software in 20 years, positioning it and the company as simpler, faster, more intuitive, and more frictionless paths to Cloud-based enterprise business management for customers and partners both existing and new.1523Graphic-V2
Our summary:What SAP showed, and what it means to SAP, its customers, and its partners, is summarized below. In-depth analysis and guidance on what SAP presented and promised is available to clients of Saugatuck’s CRS subscription research service.

  • SAP unveiled the fourth-generation Business Suite 4 SAP HANA (S/4HANA), spotlighting its abilities in Financial and business performance analytics, reporting, decision-making, and planning, although the demos did include other aspects of enterprise business management. Major emphases by SAP included S/4HANA’s “smaller footprint,” along with increased speed and an “on-demand” nature of data processing, analytics, and reporting. SAP claims that the total footprint of the new suite is 90% smaller than its current Business Suite, and data processing/analytics/reporting is 3x to 7x faster, both due to a combination of in-Cloud and in-memory processing.
  • S/4HANA runs on-premises, in Private Clouds, or in Public Clouds, and across all types of business computing devices via a unifying UI built with SAP’s Fiori. SAP demo’d the UI working on tablets, traditional PCs, and a smartwatch. Fiori uses HTML5 and CSS via an SAP network gateway to reach the S/4HANA back-end and any linked resources. According to the demo today, some Business Suite apps do not work with the new UI; those that do not will be updated based on “customer- and partner-driven priorities.”
  • Some of the most compelling emphasis today was on what SAP is calling “Guided Configuration”,e., Cloud-based, in-app S/4HANA setup for customer situations. SAP founder Hasso Plattner jokingly apologized to partner consulting firms for reducing their future business as a result of the Guided Configuration capability, which we expect will be most useful where S/4HANA is running as a SaaS offering in a Public Cloud.

Why is it Happening?

As we blogged in May 2013: SAP knows that to remain not just relevant, but dominant, it must reinvent itself from the inside out. Continue reading

Fireside Chat with Tim Minahan, CMO SAP Cloud (CBS14)

On November 12th, 2014, Saugatuck Technology held its 4th annual Cloud Business Summit at the Yale Club of New York City. As with prior Summits, our event brought together more than 100 large-enterprise CIOs, CTOs and senior business and finance leaders – to explore how they can and are realizing value from the Cloud.

The key focus this year was the significant impact that Cloud is having in shaping core business strategy, as we evolve into the era of Digital Business.

In this Fireside chat, Saugatuck Research Fellow Bruce Guptill sits down with Tim Minahan, CMO SAP Cloud. Minahan discusses the impact that Cloud has had, not just on the cost profile of IT, but also in how it has drastically reshaped the agility that businesses are capable of achieving. Guptill and Minahan go on to talk about how businesses are opening new doors by harvesting data at scale, and using this to help them move beyond traditional TCO models to look instead the opportunities Cloud can create for their businesses. Continue reading

Simple Finance: SAP, Finance, Cloud, and Improving Finance Value to the Enterprise

As part of our ongoing “Finance in the Cloud” series, Saugatuck’s Mike West, Bill McNee and Bruce Guptill recently sat around a virtual conference table with Henner Schliebs, head of Finance Audience Marketing for global business management software giant SAP. The session dug into SAP’s drive behind its newest Cloud-based, subscription-only Simple Finance offering, covering SAP’s goals and go-to-market strategy (announced June 3, 2014 @ SAPPHIRE NOW), as well as digging into what SAP sees as key factors moving Finance leaders to consider, and increasingly include, Cloud in core systems of record.

Simple Finance is the first of a wave of planned SAP “simplifications” of traditional ERP / enterprise business management software. At June’s SAPPHIRE NOW event, SAP leaders predicted that the company’s entire Business Suite will be “simplified” by the end of 2015.

SAP’s vision for Finance as an entity, and especially for how Finance will use its software, builds on the goal of positioning the enterprise Finance group and operations as a “competitive weapon.” This requires unifying not only Finance systems, workflows, and data, but all key business management systems, workflows, and data throughout the enterprise, using a core and simplified user interface to enable ease of use and encourage widespread adoption. Continue reading

Business Networking at the SAP SME Summit

SAP’s annual SME Summit was held in New York last week, and thanks to streaming live video, a wealth of social media interaction, and some great connections here and there, Saugatuck was able to “attend” vicariously and gather some key insights from the event.

First let’s set the expectations regarding the types of companies involved. SAP uses the term “SME” to mean “smaller and mid-sized enterprises,” with the emphasis clearly on “enterprises.” These are not what most think of as the traditional SMBs. Instead, they’re characterized as having at least 1,000 employees and often greater than $1B in annual revenues, depending on industry.

Their relatively large size (and complexity of business) is why they’re targeted by SAP, who’s selling them Business ByDesign and BusinessOne at a pretty good clip – especially BusinessOneSAP claims 45,000 customers for BusinessOne, with about 900 of them running on top of SAP’s HANA platform. And all new ByD and BusinessOne customers will run on HANA as well, helping to fulfill SAP’s goal of HANA as the platform for all its business management apps.

Speaking of HANA, there was of course quite a bit of discussion regarding SAP’s flagship platform / DB. And almost all of it included the words “will,” “plan to,” or Continue reading

IBM, the Cloud, SAP, and IT Provider Re-Invention

It’s no secret that IBM’s financial performance has disappointed investors and company leadership. We see part, if not much, of the blame being placed on a perception that IBM has been late in, or unable to, transition to being a Cloud-first provider of IT.

A new Strategic Perspective research note for Saugatuck subscription research clients examines this perception through the lens of the recent IBM-SAP HANA deal, providing insight into how both firms have been reinventing and repositioning themselves to be very competitive with Cloud-based business IT offerings. For example:  Continue reading

Large-Enterprise Financials – A Less Scary Path to the Future

Most people are risk-averse. Growing up, my parents certainly were. And it has long been clear that most large-enterprise CFOs are. So it has not been that surprising that the Office of the CFO has been cautious in adopting Cloud-based solutions, regardless as to whether any of their fears are substantially justified or not.

No doubt, pockets of next-gen solution adoption have been occurring for some time throughout Finance, although mostly around the periphery. Cloud players such as Adaptive Insights, Host Analytics and Tidemark are having strong success in the business planning and budgeting space. Niche players such as Avalara and Kyriba are likewise enjoying strong demand in the Sales / Use Tax and Corporate Treasury segments respectfully. And providers of Cloud-based core Accounting / Financials targeting SMBs and mid-market firms have likewise seen some solid success, including firms such as Intacct, Kenandy, FinancialForce and especially NetSuite – as well as newer next-gen versions from Sage, Epicor and Infor, all of whom have been heavily investing in / reinventing their solution sets.

For the largest of enterprises, though, we still haven’t yet seen the explosive growth in core financials anticipated only a couple of years ago. To some degree we have viewed this as a “chicken or the egg” issue – as until the last year or two, large enterprises lacked robust / fully fleshed out / credible financials / accounting offerings to evaluate and choose from.

However, that has been changing – as four options are now available to serve the unique needs of this high-end market segment. NetSuite has been having some success going upmarket with its two-tier financial consolidation play for a couple of years now. Oracle has come to market with its Fusion Financials Cloud Service, and both Workday (see recent Lens360 blog post) and SAP now have much richer and more powerful solutions that can support the needs of the largest of enterprises.

As part of our focused 2014-2015 research program on Cloud Financials, last Continue reading

SAP Concur Acquisition Illustrates the New Digital Business Enterprise Model 

SAP has agreed to acquire Cloud-based travel and expense management provider Concur Technologies.  When completed, the deal will be the most expensive acquisition ever for SAP, ranking above SAP’s 2010 $7.1 billion acquisition of Sybase Inc. It will also be a Top 10 all-time software or Cloud / SaaS acquisition in terms of total price paid. Concur shareholders will receive $129 per share, a 20 percent premium over Wednesday’s closing price of $107.80. The 21-year-old, Bellevue, WA-based Concur had been known to be shopping for a buyer, with most rumors indicating SAP or Oracle as the most likely acquirers. The publicly-traded firm posted fiscal-year 2013 losses of $24.4 million on revenue of $546 million.

Saugatuck’s first take is that, while buying Concur may not improve bottom-line profits immediately, SAP does get another significant stream of Cloud-driven revenue; Cloud-based providers’ revenues are growing increasingly faster than traditional software providers. SAP also adds more Cloud expertise and presence overall, especially expertise in marketing and supporting Cloud-based financial software. With 23,000 clients and 25 million users through 150 countries, SAP also gains a business transaction network similar to its 2012 acquisition of Ariba. According to SAP CEO Bill McDermott, the addition of Concur would mean Continue reading