One luxury that founders of successful technology vendors have is the freedom to answer questions honestly. Other leaders often have to lard answers with marketing. Hasso Plattner, co-founder SAP is in that luxurious position of being able to say what he wants even when it is the unvarnished truth.
He’s also one of a small number of people in enterprise software who can stand behind his company’s products because he was responsible for some of the code. In that sense, Plattner has a unique perspective on why things are done a certain way in the SAP world.
On Day 2 of SAPPHIRENow 2017, we saw a relaxed and jovial Plattner, willing to both poke fun at his long time arch frenemy Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle while at the same time saying ‘I don’t know’ when faced with a detail with which he is unfamiliar.
But the main thrust of Plattner’s keynote was the idea of ‘intelligent business applications’ (with SAP HANA at the core – naturally.) Here, Plattner painted an expansive picture of many technologies inside the SAP Leonardo ‘box’ that can be pulled out much like a carpenter’s toolkit to assemble as yet unimagined applications.
That presents some technical problems but also some perceptual issues. When Plattner was pitching HANA the database some years ago, he said that it could be the foundation upon which companies build next generation analytical applications. At the time, audiences took that with a grain of salt given that HANA was in its infancy. Today, both analysts and customers need to assess the veracity of Plattner’s vision in the context of a much richer set of applications and tools. In short, the future is with us, even if it is distributed very unevenly.
As always with Plattner’s keynotes, it ran heavy on technology for the benefit of the SAP developer community but came with an acknowledgement that SAP does not today know (or cannot name) the applications that customers need.
Anyhoo – assess for yourself how well Plattner managed to pitch SAP’s offering from Holger Mueller’s second Storify which is below. It contains some rich pickings that should give buyers ideas around the sorts of technical questions they choose to ask when faced with their AEs.
Image credit - via Holger Mueller
Disclosure - SAP is a premier partner at time of writing.