Reuters India is reporting that tomorrow in New York, SAP will provide details of the latest iteration of its high end Business Suite - this time version 7. Some of the Irregulars are in NYC for the event so you can expect they'll have plenty to say on the topic:
...people familiar with the software said that SAP designed it in modules so that companies can start with just a piece of the suite, adding more as their budgets allow. Unlike previous SAP products, all programs in the suite will have a common interface, making them easier to use and less cumbersome for IT staff to implement, the sources said
Earlier in the day, I caught up with Vinnie Mirchandani on his way to NYC. We talked about the many problems SAP faces, not least the continuing unrest among customers with the new maintenance regime but others - like the whole notion of certification/quality and relatively slow take up in the recently launched Ecohub marketplace. Some of the Twitter messages I see are far from complimentary. Check this from @nantel or this from @lekowicz.
Just as challenging for SAP is an environment where there is bound to be heavy price pressure. The fact this latest version is being introduced in modular form might help it ease the price pain but there is no guarantee that it will be any less expensive to install than previous versions. If as some suggest, it is a repackaging exercise then customers will take a lot of convincing that they're really seeing anything new.
I'm really not sure how SAP expects to get this to stick for 2009. The rate of take up of ECC6 hasn't exactly been stellar. Estimates vary but the numbers I hear suggest take up in the 25-35% range. ECC6 is a major technical upgrade that customers I speak with are still consuming. For those customers in particular, another upgrade so quickly in the life cycle is too much.
Elsewhere in the SAP ecosystem, rumors are rife that PwC will take out Bearing Point anytime soon. How true that is remains to be seen but even if true, PwC has enough problems of its own with the ongoing Satyam fraud case. How PwC thinks it will create a credible unit in those circumstances is a mystery to me.