SAP's new co-CEOs today promised faster software innovation and better execution on a hybrid enterprise software model that includes cloud computing and traditional enterprise software.
SAP, which describes itself as the world's largest business software company, recently reshuffled its top management replacing CEO Léo Apotheker with Bill McDermott, who was head of field organization, and Jim Hagemann Snabe, who was head of product development.
Their appearance at the SAP Silicon Valley center was their first joint press/analyst conference since the announcement of their appointment in early February.
Here are some notes from the press conference:
- Business by Design, the cloud computing offering, has been slow getting off the ground but has been successful in terms of software quality. The development team has been using agile software techniques which has reduced development team size by one-third and produced higher quality software than expected.
- SAP continues to believe a hybrid strategy is best, combining the traditional enterprise software business model with cloud computing/on-demand software as a service.
- SAP intends to become the number one on-demand software company in the world. It sees huge opportunities in the Chinese market.
- This summer there will be a major new release of the Business by Design software service and will be followed regular improvements every five weeks.
- Oracle was criticized for not being innovative. It's acquisition strategy is not providing any benefits to customers, unlike SAP, which has been investing hundreds of thousands of man-years in innovation, such as enabling customers to take advantage of new features without having to upgrade their systems.
- The new co-CEOs will try to move the company at a faster "clock-rate" than the former CEO. The basic strategy will remain the same but the execution will be faster.
- SAP wants its employees to be excited about coming to work. It is also impressed by its developer community, which is coming up with lots of interesting ideas.
- SAP is not going to follow Oracle's strategy of tying applications to specific hardware, as through its acquisition of Sun Microsystems. But it does want to eliminate the conversation about stacks and focus on solutions.
- Best of breed solutions were criticized, the problem is that "they don't breed well."
- The acquisition of Business Objects was important in broadening SAP's view of the software world. It sees the future as enabling customers to work with many different companies and allowing their corporate systems to easily interact with their business partners.
- SAP justified the maintenance fees being paid by customers because the company is innovating across industry sectors.
- Innovation was a frequently used word during the Q&A but it wasn't clear what this meant or what it would look like.