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November 23, 2015updated 12 Oct 2017 4:43pm

SAP User Group Conference 2015: Cloud first but not cloud only

Analysis: SAP UK&I User Group goes through its own digital transformation while SAP remains loyal to on-premise.

By James Nunns

The UK & Ireland SAP User Group conference kicked off at the ICC in Birmingham today, placing a focus on the importance of customers.

It could be expected that a company would welcome the feedback of its customers but Philip Adams, chairman of the UK&I SAP User Group, said: “Dialogue with SAP is above and beyond what you see with many other vendors.”

This may be due to the networking emphasis the group places on its users, with the group’s ‘Spectrum Connected’ tag line certainly in keeping with its collaboration focus. As the SAP portfolio changes with the influence of S4 HANA, a customer base is demanding knowledge to keep up.

As with many events, attendees to today’s conference were unable to escpae digital transformation, another major theme of the conference. The clear message SAP was sending out was that organisations need help with their digital journey.

Cormac Watters, MD, SAP UK&I highlighted the ease at which companies can be left behind if they don’t continue to evolve. Examples of BlackBerry, Kodak and Blockbuster have become the staple example of companies that failed to adapt.

Continuing in this vein, Watters said: “Digital is now everywhere and tech is the backbone,” with all the speakers predictably pushing SAP as the tech backbone.

Earlier in the keynote the User Group announced a guide of process tools for adoption that are designed to be generic in order to fit a wide focus. The idea is about making transformation a little easier, or to ‘Run Simple’.

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The User Group itself isn’t immune to transformation, it is planning to appoint a new director, with a process to nominate a new board member taking place early next year.

Further changes have come with a new logo branding and a new web portal. The group has also implemented SAP JAM to help increase collaboration.

The changes come as the group looks to increase the personalisation and make it easier to provide feedback to both the user group and SAP.

Although a great focus is being put on looking forward at digital transformation, SAP is keen to let people know that it isn’t leaving behind its on-premise software users.

Denecken, said: “Technically I can deliver everything in the cloud on S4 but why do that if not everything needs that?”

“We are cloud first but not cloud only.”

Looking forward you can expect to see updates every quarter to the company’s cloud software and every nine to 12 months for on premise.

SAP is clearly confident of its position, with Denecken calling it the, “largest cloud company.” Keeping customers happy by listening at events like these is something the company will be hoping can help keep it at the top of the market.

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