Business software powerhouse SAP is a major technology brand it has bold plans to extend its brand dominance to the fast-growing cloud computing sector. Its plans range from loosely coupling business application suites to integrating data to Platform as a Service (PaaS) services SAP announced its plans at the Sapphire conference held last Tuesday in Orlando, Florida. The announcements came a few months after the company acquired SuccessFactors for $3.4 billion. The buyout gave SAP ownership of a large array of cloud-based human capital management (HCM) applications. More importantly, executives say that the acquisition gave SAP some “cloud DNA” or key expertise they need in running cloud services.
SAP is not exactly a newbie to cloud computing. It has offered software as a service (SaaS) for quite some time prior to their acquisition of SuccessFactors. Still, SAP’s service offerings remain mostly in software that is in-premises and is often marked by long cycles of sales and releases. The majority of its services also involve perpetual licensing. All these elements are opposite to what the cloud offers-subscription pricing, rapid transaction-based sales, and quick updates.
In addition to technology, the SuccessFactors purchase brought in key personnel that will spearhead SAP’s cloud services drive. SuccessFactors’ CEO Lars Dalgaard has been selected to oversee SAP’s overall cloud strategy. SAP’s strategy includes applications that are organized around the key themes suppliers, customers, money, and people. Accordingly, SAP is set to announce plans to put its global payroll applications in the cloud in the form of SuccessFactort’s portal, Employee Central. SAP also plans to release a tied-in offering Financials OnDemand.
SAP says that, overall, its cloud offerings are going to be guided by a design sensibility that looks at “big data” analysis, social networking, and mobility. The company says that other vendors look at these factors as separate but SAP considers them as parts of what makes a complete cloud. As such, the company is planning to use HTML5 as its standard format going forward.