Digitalisation is lagging behind expectations. The members of the German-speaking SAP user group DSAG cite problems in their own companies first, but then also problems with SAP. It suffers from the integration of systems, compatible data models as well as flexible and scalable license models.
“Before the S4/Hana migration, start with business reengineering,” says Klaus Straub. “After that, you won’t get paid for it.” This was the BMW CIO’s message to the 5600 guests at this year’s DSAG Annual Congress from 17 to 19 September in Nuremberg. Never before in the twenty-year history of the congress have so many members of the German-speaking SAP User Association come together. Their request is urgent.
SAP users in Germany, Austria and Switzerland say that digitization is not progressing well. In a DSAG survey conducted in the summer, they first self-critically mentioned problems in their own company, i.e. the usual things: a lack of personnel and financial resources (42 percent) and a lack of digital corporate culture (38 percent). The lack of willingness to change on the part of employees or rigid organizational structures (24 percent each) were therefore less responsible. Nor was there a lack of support from management (12 percent) or know-how (11 percent), see chart 1. The external obstacles are much more exciting.
Klaus Straub addresses a problem that all CIOs have to deal with: They have to integrate S4 / Hana into companies that do not yet know what to do with it. And SAP can’t explain it to them either. Only a quarter of DSAG members feel well informed about the supposed advantages of the new software. 45 percent only partially trust the SAP product strategy, whereas 30 percent of the users question this trust. Drastically speaking: Every third customer mistrusts SAP, see chart 2.
As far as the SAP solution portfolio is concerned, there are also concrete tasks that need to be solved better by SAP, says Marco Lenck, DSAG board member since 2012. His main points of criticism are:
– better integration,
– uniform master data,
– extended, stable functionality and
– Scalability of solutions and license models.
“Since companies are increasingly focusing on hybrid landscapes, SAP has to make it as easy and flexible as possible to set them up and expand them, including license models,” warns Marco Lenck: “Otherwise, projects will continue to falter.”
Biggest challenges of digitization
Despite all the criticism, Lenck also points to positive developments, for example in human resources. After intensive discussions, customers will be able to operate the SAP Human Capital Management (SAP HCM) solution integrated into S/4HANA from 2022. A success that particularly pleases SAP customers who do not yet want to or cannot switch to the software-as-a-service solution SuccessFactors in the cloud in 2025.
Confidence in SAP strategy
In its survey, DSAG continued to determine the use of S/4 Hana in comparison to the Business Suite. The focus is increasingly on S/4 Hana as the basis for digital transformation. In the next three years, conversion projects are planned in many companies. At present only a few enterprises can announce completed S/4 Hana projects though. The “self-assured” transformation in the companies is even worse than in the previous year, says Lenck: “Everyone feels like doing something. And everyone has the feeling that they are stuck in the hamster wheel.”
With SAP solutions for digitizing customer processes such as C/4 Hana or Qualtrics, the situation is more differentiated. Although they are used by the member companies, they tend to be less well represented than their competitors. “For the new SAP products to reach DSAG members, they need a functioning integration. If this is the case, SAP can better exploit its added value as a provider of hybrid solutions,” says Marco Lenck.
Satisfaction as a strategic partner
Interesting survey detail at the end: When it comes to digitization, SAP users prefer to rely on their peers. A CIO most likely believes CIOs. Nearly 70 percent of the respondents describe the user association as a trustworthy, strategic partner. This puts DSAG ahead of SAP partners (58 percent) and far ahead of SAP itself (37 percent). Lenck explains why SAP performs so poorly compared to SAP partners by the fact that the partners are closer to the customer than the software manufacturer itself. The DSAG executive board predicts: “The gap between SAP and customers is widening. It could be that we will get even worse results next year.”
The German-speaking SAP User Group e. V. (DSAG) is one of the most influential user associations in the world. More than 60,000 members from over 3,500 companies form a strong network that extends from medium-sized companies to DAX corporations and across all economic sectors in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH). On the basis of this reach, the industry association gains sound insights into the digital challenges in the DACH market. DSAG uses this lead in knowledge to represent the interests of SAP users and to pave the way for its members to digitization. Further information can be found at: www.dsag.de, www.dsag.at, www.dsag-ev.ch.
DSAG Annual Congress 2019
Around 5,500 visitors attended the three-day event organized by the German-speaking SAP User Group. (DSAG) from September 17 to 19, 2019 at the Nuremberg Exhibition Center. This year’s motto was “And Action! Make digitization consistent”. Eight keynotes, over 300 lectures and 175 partners on an exhibition area of approx. 15,000 square meters form the framework for the largest and most important user meeting in Europe. The event celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. www.dsag.de/kongress