SAP CEO: 'Increasing complexity is killing companies'

Complex IT infrastructures are why “90 percent of companies fail”, according to SAP CEO Bill McDermott.


Complex IT infrastructures are why “90 percent of companies fail”, according to SAP CEO Bill McDermott.

Speaking at SAP’s SAPPHIRENOW conference in Florida, the newly appointed sole-CEO said that businesses need to stop playing “whack-a-mole” and limit sprawling IT environments following acquisitions, mergers or product launches, to ensure the organisation’s longevity.

McDermott unveiled a range of new products for enterprise during his keynote speech, including free Fiori and Screen Persona software for existing users, and a partnership with eBay to improve marketplace transactions for employees to order specific equipment or technology with Ariba.

SAP Simple Finance, a product for finance departments which is powered by HANA and hosted in the cloud was also announced.

The CEO admitted that SAP had a reputation for complication. Often criticised for poor usability, these new releases are an attempt to prove that SAP can offer enterprises simplicity when it comes to decision making, aid streamlined business processes, while combining consumer-like ease-of-use in the front-end for employees.

McDermott said: “A big company should not be structured like an onion, and it shouldn’t make you cry when you try to unpeel it.”

Further, McDermott illustrated the importance of embracing simplicity-hungry digital natives, who are fast becoming company employees. Enterprises need to offer user-friendly systems and processes which work similarly to popular consumer technology to keep not only their customers, but their staff happy and more productive, he said.

“In the UK, Germany and US, brands that offer simplicity add US$50 billion in revenue each and every year,” he added.

Unilever is one example of an enterprise achieving simplicity across a global landscape. It recently converged its multiple CRM systems into four global centres using SAP. The group has been able to quantify the “significant” cost, time and effort reductions following a SAP ERP integration project, the brand’s global IT director revealed.

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