SAP's move to name Microsoft executive Quentin Clark chief technology officer may indicate broader cloud and big data moves ahead.
On Friday, SAP said Clark "will drive direction and vision of SAP’s future technology and shape SAP’s brand as the technology leader." Clark will report to Bernd Leukert, member of the SAP's executive board overseeing products and innovation.
While SAP's press release doesn't serve up much detail on Clark's role other than he'll have a role in strategy, the new hire's resume highlights a big data and cloud bent.
It's no secret that SAP has talked up analytics with HANA as well as cloud with its SuccessFactors and Ariba acquisitions, but the hiring of Clark could indicate a larger buildout.
From June 2006 to June 2014, Clark oversaw design and delivery of SQL Server, Power BI, BI in Office, data analytics in Azure and Hadoop offerings. He specialized in workloads ranging from databases to integrations to business intelligence in the cloud. Clark oversaw three cloud products — Azure Data Factory, Machine Learning and HDInsight — that could turbo charge SAP's analytics capabilities.
That expertise will certainly be welcome at SAP. The big question is whether Clark will get the backing and funding he had at Microsoft, which has invested heavily in Azure and now is among the big three infrastructure as a service providers along with Amazon Web Services and Google's cloud platform. SAP, however, did say on its latest earnings conference call that it would be investing more in cloud offerings.