SAP turns 50 this year. Stuart Browne over at ERP Today has a great piece on what’s changed over the years, and why – dissimilar to MTV – SAP’s aging has been not-so-graceful in some areas.
In the past, solutions that offered great integration got the most attention from businesses. This was SAP’s kingmaking feature from the start – bundle business processes together and integrate them. Just like MTV with artists aiming for music videos as key to their image, consulting companies put SAP at the front of their partnership plays, creating an entire ecosystem.
But time marches on. MTV adapted from solely focused on music videos to creating other forms of viewer content. Browne rightly points out the best example of this: Beavis and Butt-Head. And then he (convincingly) argues that SAP hasn’t been able to reinvent itself similarly. Monolithic ERP has meant sacrificing the agility of some parts for the sake of moving things “at the pace of the slowest functions”.
Lots to chew on in this piece. I am also in agreement with two things: companies seem less apt to choose huge monoliths and instead want to break things up into best-of-breed, and the skills shortage in SAP consultants doesn’t help. I’ll add that orgs who take hyperscaler capabilities seriously and architect their networks of solutions around elastic platform resources will be best enabled to overcome challenges quickly. PM