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Chủ Nhật, 30 tháng 11, 2014

SAP Customers Seek Unified 'Cloud Architecture' - Wall Street Journal (blog)

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CIO customers of SAP SE ’s cloud software say they would like to see the company consolidate its various applications onto a common architecture. The CIOs tell CIO Journal that consolidation would make it easier for SAP to upgrade the software, reducing potential disruption to their own businesses.

SAP CEO Bill McDermott said, in an interview with Re/Code published Monday, that the German software maker will outline a five-year plan for its business expansion, including a drill-down into its cloud strategy. Broadstrokes for the plan will emerge in January, when the company reports its quarterly results, with more details coming at a February shareholders meeting.

What SAP shares will be critical; the company has waded into the cloud market by spending about $16 billion on acquiring commerce software maker Ariba, human resources concern SuccessFactors and, most recently, corporate travel management firm Concur Technologies Inc. It’s also building versions of its on-premises financial and procurement applications that run in the cloud.

John Hill, CIO of industrial conveyor belt maker Veyance Technologies Inc., said SAP could make CIOs’ lives easier with a unified “cloud architecture.” The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. subsidiary uses SAP’s enterprise resource planning software as well as Concur. Mr. Hill says a unified architecture would help SAP rapidly deploy upgrades to its various cloud apps. And a single technology base would make training easier and allow his team to be more “nimble and agile” in deploying additional SAP cloud apps in the future.

SAP is no stranger to common software architectures; its NetWeaver platform forms the technical foundation on top of which several SAP business apps run.

A converged cloud architecture would ideally lead to a smoother user experience, said Vince Kellen, CIO of the University of Kentucky, who spends about $1.5 million a year on SAP’s financial and procurement apps, SAP’s HANA in-memory database software, and SuccessFactors. He’s evaluating SAP’s Enterprise Cloud suite, which includes cloud versions of SAP’s business apps and HANA software. If he chooses that platform, he’s going to need to be able to integrate data from SuccessFactors, as well as data from non-SAP applications, such as student information cloud apps he is mulling. “I want good interoperability,” said Mr. Kellen.

SAP spokesman Saswato Das declined to say what the company has in store for customers early next year. “We will lay out a roadmap through 2020 and that will be comprehensive,” he said.

2020 is a crucial target year for SAP. Mr. McDermott told Re/Code that SAP aims to be number one in cloud users and revenue by then. But to achieve it, SAP will have to go through rivals such as Oracle Corp. and Inc.

Whatever SAP announces early next year, Holger Mueller, a Constellation Research analyst who tracks SAP, said customers will welcome a longer term strategy because it will allow them to align their purchasing decisions along that plan. He also said he will be paying attention to whether SAP sticks to its “Run Simple” mission, a pledge to reduce IT complexity, announced earlier this summer at a customer event. “It will be interesting to see how the new ‘simple’ message will find itself in the new plan, said Mr. Mueller. “Simple is not easy behind the scenes.”

SAP in October reported a 15% increase in third-quarter profit due to its cloud sales, but it reduced its full-year operating profit in anticipation of short-term pressures on margins and less upfront revenue, due to its increase in cloud sales.

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