Weather Report – How Cloudy is it Getting...And how soon
SAP has been building its SaaS offering for years, the first real attempt on a larger scale was Business By Design, launched in 2007. It was an uphill hike for a long time and traction was under expectations.
Meanwhile, other players have been gaining ground and appearing more and more clearly on the enterprise application map – either as contending technologies or as platforms offering new potential in ways to consume solutions. Many have proved also that new open platforms invite software developers to design apps which are no longer gamely but useful also in an enterprise context. Names such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, LinkedIn and Salesforce.com to name a few have been game changers. Big time. On-premise giants like SAP and Oracle have had to re-thing the vulnerability of their business and estimate the pace of the change. Recent development is proving, once again, that when the going gets tough, the tough get going and SAP is raising the stakes. And the expectations. Well, SAP will probably once again show its might and prove everyone wrong and come with a suite of solutions which are hard to beat.
SAP ByDesign came in probably just a little too early as a genuine attempt to not be late. Hard to verify if the adoption has been a true success, but sources say it has been a struggle. SAP has now shifted gear with SuccessFactor and recently Ariba acquisitions and driving their stake into the cloudy skies. If I were to forecast the cloud development based on press releases, blogs, analysts, reports and the press, I might change my attire too soon and even take out an umbrella. If I listen to our customers, they will say cloud has been here for years and they will finish the sentence by saying, cloud is still years away. So who is right? At least in our customer base, where we are typically very up to speed on their technology adoption rate, cloud (in the true sense of the word) is not quite here yet. Apart from the googles, facebooks and linkedins part of the equation.
ASP was here, hosting is still here, SaaS, IaaS & PaaS is partly here – but cloud, in the relevant sense of the word, pay-as-you-go, elastic enterprise applications in the business critical enterprise applications arena is not quite here yet. The same phenomenon is taking place as was with second/third wave on-top-of-ERP solutions. There is still a massive amount of on-premise development going on. A surprising number of organisations are still in early phases in expanding their ERPs, but admittedly the tide is turning. And accelerating. It is getting cloudy, but what comes to true speed of adoption and perceived speed, there is still a very visible difference.
Are we just in denial of the self-evident? I say no, but customers who have invested customized on-premise solutions are duly reluctant to eject all the development overnight and go cloud. Those strategically investing in SAP are likely to wait for the whole suite to be genuinely adaptable for the enterprise needs and even so, the business case may be hard to prove for a while. And then there are those who are already there. Again, it is about definition, are we talking about cloud as hosted infra-structure or true on-demand solutions. Will companies finally understand the value of “good-enough” or will the customize-to-death trend continue? In any case, and either way, Bilot’s mission is deliver better business solutions, be it cloud, on-premise, customized, standard, mobile, you name it. If it is cloud, we shall be cloud. If we get it right, as we have for the span of our existence, we will be the first in the market today with solutions our customers want tomorrow.