• May 15, 2012
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

SAP Unveils Accelerated Cloud Strategy

ORLANDO, Fla. (SAPPHIRE NOW) - SAP today unveiled its accelerated cloud strategy leveraging technologies in gained in its acquisition of SuccessFactors in December for $3.4 billion.

Since the close of that deal in February, the combined teams immediately joined forces to begin delivering on an accelerated cloud strategy. SAP is now investing more than 5,000 people dedicated to designing, building and delivering cloud solutions. The newly formed cloud business unit, serving more than 17 million users, will be focused on four solution areas aimed at helping customers manage their most business-critical assets and relationships.

SAP plans to deliver The cloud portfolio will focus on solutions that help SAP customers better manage the following:

  • People: SAP has added its global payroll software as a cloud-based offering integrated with SuccessFactors' core human resources solution, Employee Central.
  • Money: SAP announced the planned availability of the SAP Financials OnDemand solution, targeted for large enterprise customers to manage their core financials as well as order-to-cash and invoice-to-pay processes. It is planned to be integrated with SuccessFactors' core HR solution Employee Central. In addition, SAP intends to deliver a new release of the SAP Travel OnDemand solution with additional integration and mobile capabilities, including the ability to capture and process expenses directly from a mobile device.
  • Customers: The SAP Sales OnDemand solution, with new innovations now released quarterly, delivers new marketing and social selling capabilities, new configurability and customization tools, and new integration to on-premises SAP Business Suite software, including the SAP CRM application. SAP is now broadening its portfolio of CRM solutions to help companies leverage the full power of social networks. SAP today also announced the general availability of the SAP Social Customer Engagement OnDemand solution to help companies engage intelligently with their customers via social media such as Facebook and Twitter as part of their multichannel approach for both marketing and service professionals.
  • Suppliers: SAP intends to invest in the SAP Sourcing OnDemand solution for strategic sourcing, supplier, and contract lifecycle management integrated on premise with SAP Business Suite, as well as its business networks solutions, including the SAP Information Interchange OnDemand solution, for networked-based invoice management and information exchange for the procure-to-pay process.

Jim Hagemann-Snabe, co-CEO of SAP, said in his morning keynote that he sees the cloud as a the wave of the future. "In five years, everything will be in the cloud," he said.

The cloud is just one area of focus that SAP is touting at its SAPPHIRE NOW user conference. Others include mobile, analytics, applications, and database technology.

SAP also announced today the planned availability of SAP NetWeaver Cloud as its unified platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering. It is intended to be powered by the SAP HANA in-memory platform with application design and runtime capabilities, as well as a rich set of services that are planned to include security, mobile, and collaboration. The company is partnering with third-party PaaS offerings, including VMware Cloud Foundry, that customers will be able to use together with platform services from SAP NetWeaver Cloud.

SAP also intends to deliver a cloud-based integration technology, comprised of on-demand solutions for process integration and data services, with out-of-the-box content to connect the loosely coupled line-of-business on-demand solutions to other SAP solutions whether on premises or on demand. For integration to third-party solutions, SAP plans to offer its own cloud-based integration technology and also plans to enable its vast ecosystem of partners, including solutions from Dell Boomi, IBM Cast Iron, and Mulesoft.

And while many have argued that SAP is late in joining the cloud revolution, Vinay Iyer, vice president of marketing at SAP, says the company has caught up with the SuccessFactors acquisition, just as its acquisition of Sybase for $5.8 billion in mid-2010 brought it up to speed with mobile technologies. "There's no question that we are innovating," he says, "both organically and through acquisitions."

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