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November 21, 2016updated 25 Nov 2016 2:59pm

Half of SAP UK&I customers have no plans to use S4 HANA

SAP fails to present a clear migration path to the ERP Suite.

By James Nunns

SAP has a lot of work to do when it comes to presenting a clear message on migrating to S4 HANA.

Currently the majority of the UK & Ireland SAP User Group feels that SAP has failed to be clear in communicating the migration path to S4 HANA and almost half have no plans to use it.

That’s according to a survey of 296 user organisations in the UK & Ireland where 70% answered the question ’Do you think SAP has been clear in communicating the migration path to SAP S/4 HANA?’ with a no, with only 30% saying yes.

The knock-on impact of this appears to be that 49% of the user organisations are not, or have no plans, to use the ERP suite. While 5% are using it and 34% plan to use it, the majority don’t and a surprising 12% aren’t even aware of it.

These figures clearly raise significant questions about how the UK&I market is reacting to the SAP offering, with many apparently happy to stay on older suites.

The problem relates directly to one of the big buzzwords engulfing the tech industry – digital transformation.

Cormac Watters, MD, SAP, UK&I said on stage at the SAP UK&I User Group conference attended by CBR: “In the last 12 months it’s become clear that digital transformation is not just a cool conference topic, it IS very real.”

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One of the fundamental components of digital transformation is that tech vendors are seen more as partners of businesses throughout a long transformational journey. Part of this requires the vendor, SAP in this case, to be clear about its roadmap so that customers know it is something they can get behind.

Paul Cooper, VC, SAP UK&I User Group said that there had been less feedback from customers and there were numerous calls throughout the first day of the conference for customers to get more engaged.

Watters, referencing the 12% that don’t know about S4 HANA said that it is important to understand that not everything is getting through to the customer base and that while there were 97 marketing campaigns last year this clearly needs to be addressed.

For its part SAP is working alongside the user group in order to help customers understand what exactly is going on. Watters said that a three year online roadmap has been released in beta and will be released next year.

While lots has been done to promote S4 HANA and the company as a digital transformation partner, Watters said: “It’s important to say this is a journey…we want to be more approachable, open, and involved,” there is a lot more work to be done.

S4 HANA is no longer a new piece of technology, although it was frequently referred to being one, it is over two years old and many of the UK&I customer base has no plans to use it and the company has failed to communicate to them a clear migration path.

SAP will continue to innovate with the product and continue to push use cases in the hope that people adopt it, but adoption for existing SAP customers in UK&I looks to be getting hurt by a failure to present a clear message.

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