SAP’s dramatic announcement that it is rolling out a software as a service option to its core Business Suite customers has received an enthusiastic welcome from the UK user group and a cynical response from rival SaaS vendors.
"This is great news and should be welcomed by the user community as it offers great potential,” Alan Bowling, chairman of the SAP UK and Ireland User Group, told Computerworlduk.
“There has been a lot of talk about SaaS but there aren't many large enterprises that would move their core business processes to the cloud. They'd be worried about security and most importantly reliability.
“This move from SAP is welcome as it allows companies to keep in use their in-house SAP systems for their core processes while at the same time taking advantage of some of the benefits of SaaS," he added.
Bruce Francis, VP corporate strategy at Salesforce.com said: "The SAP move is significant for two reasons. First and foremost, it's another major signpost in the road that we've been on for ten years now called 'The End of Software'.
“Second, SAP is coming to the realisation that Microsoft and Oracle have yet to figure out: that cloud business and technology models completely disrupt and cannibalise their client server counterparts."
Zach Nelson, the CEO of hosted ERP, CRM and e-commerce provider Netsuite, was dismissive of SAPs’ move, calling it “too little, too late”.
The initiative will fail, “as all of their ‘old’ SaaS plans have for the simple reason that it is created around SAP's needs instead of customer needs,” he said.
According to Nelson, SAP was “trying to find ways to keep customers locked into its antiquated products by promising future deliverables that never arrive.”
He said businesses were “quickly moving to true web-native offerings like NetSuite to reduce cost and increase business agility.”
UK and Ireland SAP User Group Annual Conference 23 and 24 November, Manchester, More details available here