SAP NetWeaver Core + Best of Breed / SAAS Strategic IT Alternative Investment Choices?

In this case the focus is on speed to value and business into IT driven competitive advantage, back in a full circle to Choice A vs Choice B again.

This leaves Enterprise IT decision makers and Enterprise IT architects facing the following choice:

SAP Digital Core Propensity v2
Whilst this diagram looks complex and multi-dimensional in terms of its various axis and considerations it’s really relatively simple.

With the Enterprise Client mapping their planned “as is” and “to be” position into the “two cheeses” (the evolutionary, hybrid green area or the more revolutionary and potentially more disruptive all SAP S/4 HANA Digital Core all orange area).

Essentially the client has to decide where and when he maps into these choices, from an “as is” today and “to be” in the future perspective.

Another, but similar way of looking at the choice now facing Enterprise IBM SAP Clients is as follows which is essentially another view on the initial Choice A vs Choice B diagram:

Simplified Choice ?

Basically SAP NetWeaver Enterprise ERP Clients are now being asked to make a rather complex and difficult choice between investing their typically limited IT resources in a SAP S/4 HANA “Read Optimised” back office custom template remediation, simplification and transformation that is typically combined with the integration of SAP centric front office / SaaS solutions (SuccessFactors, Ariba, Hybris, Concur, Fieldglass) via SAP HANA Cloud Integration (HCI) and/or the HANA Cloud Platform (HCP).

For some SAP / IBM Enterprise Clients this is a logical and good choice, in essence then their IT Strategy is SAP S/4 HANA Digital Core and Extended “All Orange” aligned  (in effect as summarised by the CIO of Nestle at Sapphire Now, Orlando 2016 in the Day 2 key note with Rob Enslin, although he did comment that they were still having to pressure SAP SE into developing better integration of the S/4 HANA and new HEC / HCP hosted portfolio solutions).

Are you going for “All Orange” SAP S/4 Digital Core or a SAP NetWeaver Core + Best of Breed ?

However I’ve encountered in conversations with various CIO’s, CTO’s and/or Chief / Enterprise SAP architects I’ve noticed that some Enterprise Clients with often with constrained IT budgets actually prefer to leverage their existing SAP NetWeaver ERP 6.0 template and prior significant regional or global roll out investments whilst integrating “Best of Breed” Front Office Hybrid Cloud / SaaS based solutions via SOA based standards and API enabled integration buses, appliances and/or cloud based API integration services or vendors, to increase the delivered IT speed to value.
In these cases I’ve observed a noticeable switch from a prior SAP 1st back office IT investment priorities to leveraging an existing prior SAP ERP NetWeaver core (to realise a ROI from prior significant SAP roll out investments) to a SAP NetWeaver Core + API integrated Best Of Breed / SaaS Cloud based alternatives to deliver the speed to value that is increasingly being demanded by “digitally aware” Line of Business (LoB) users who typically have rather limited interest or time for large scale, complex back office “systems of record” transformation project IT investments.

Whilst facing these choices existing SAP clients may choose to read the SAP Nation 2.0 booked published by Vinnie Mirchandani, author of The New Poylmath.

On page XII in the first edition he describes with further segmentation and detaisl the various choices SAP Clients are now making. The Un-adopters, Diversifiers, Pragmatists and the Committed.

The views and choices expressed in my summary view in Section 1 really describes a combined Diversifier / Pragmatists as Choice A and the committed “all Orange” as Choice B.

Where I’m assuming practically reversing out of often significant prior SAP ERP / Business Suite investments is as painful (in prior sunk ERP platform investment terms) as going “all Orange” in terms of loss of future commercial leverage and the risk of IT vendor lock in vs faster open source technology innovation terms, as going fully committed and “All Orange” Choice B.

This prioritisation of strategic IT investments aligned to recent commentary from Philip Howard at Bloor Research ( who effectively summarised the relative CEO IT investment priorities from the 18th annual PwC CEO survey as follows (there are similar surveys from Gartner, IBM’s Institute for Business CxO, CIO etc surveys):

Strategically Important Technologies - Bloor and PwC

Additionally the following IoT / API Hybrid Cloud Architectures are now emerging as follows to integrate prior Systems of Record (SOR) platforms into API / IoT open platform enabled hybrid cloud architectures, with Docker Containers rapidly and strongly emerging as an Open Source container based technology to practically enable these architectures from an IT platform deployment and management perspective.

A summary of the trends driving the integration market and aligned IT architecture strategies are summarized below:

Trands driving the Integration Market

With an example of a architectural approach to addressing these trends as follows:

An architecture for Digital Business

Which aligns to trend number three as follows:

Integration Trend 3 Digital Transformation

In effect in this latter case the Enterprise clients are really betting on the higher rate of innovation that is typically observed over time in an Open Source environment and a API enabled SaaS / Hybrid Cloud scenario and/or community.

Disclaimer – This blog represents the authors own views vs a formal IBM point of view

The views expressed in this blog are the authors and do not represent a formal IBM point of view.

They do represent an aggregate of many years (20+) of successful ERP / SAP Platform deployment and IT strategy development experience that is supplemented with many hours of reading, respective DB2 and/or SAP HANA roadmap materials and presentations at various user conferences and/or user groups, in addition to carefully reading input from a range of respected industry / database analyst sources (these sources are respected and quoted).



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