At Sapphire Now: SAP Intends to Shed Complexity

experience to commerce was a misstep. "Commerce is not a substitute for a customer. That comes from the belief that you need to have a transaction in order to be a customer," Wang stated. "The CRM market is beginning to become a more subsumed part of customer engagement," Greenberg added. "They've narrowed it to customer engagement and commerce, and that constrained message isn't right."

While SAP touted its innovations at the conference, the reality for many customers is that adoption of the newest product could be years away. "Companies may not do more than one upgrade a year, whereas the pace of SAP bringing out solutions is really fast," Worksoft Chief Technology Officer Shoeb Javed commented. "We feel like the way you innovate needs innovations," enabling companies to take advantage of newer solutions more quickly and with less disruption.

Companies also need to think about how older systems may be preventing them from moving forward. In a talk about tech trends, Deloitte CTO Bill Briggs talked about the need to think about "technical debt reversal." Whether technology was poorly implemented or just hasn't aged well, companies need to think about the burden legacy systems cause and actively work to pay down that technical debt—which will move them toward adopting new products or gaining efficiencies from cloud-based products. When it comes to starting fresh, however, companies are already far more forward-thinking. According to McDermott, this year will be the first where the majority of new workloads will be handled in the cloud. SAP sees itself as a cloud company powered by its market-leading in-memory database, with the ability to reverse engineer and do on-premises installations according to customer preferences, McDermott explained in a press conference. The comment exemplified the tension between SAP's steps toward a simple future and the complex task of upgrading and simplifying the IT foundations imperative for a company's operation.

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