SAP had a great quarter – and deserves kudos for that. Not a surprise either that maintenance revenue is the big contributor. Despite what analysts say about disruption and other such stuff – when you have a stable and committed install base, they are not going anywhere in a hurry. So SAP can take reasonable time to get new revenue streams. However it is not a permanent hall pass, and investors will become annoyed quickly if EPS drops.
So they have these three opportunities to make new money – HANA, Mobility and On-demand.
HANA is the biggest name from a pure marketing POV – SAP is shouting from the roof tops that HANA is awesome. But what is the reality? Dennis Howlett’s post http://www.zdnet.com/blog/howlett/jim-snabe-co-ceo-sap-explains-current-business-drivers/3313?tag=mantle_skin;content says Snabe could not name a live customer for HANA. We know there are several POC customers from the SAPPHIRE videos. We also heard the 10 Million a week pipeline . We also heard it is fast and easy to stand up a high value HANA scenario. So why is not Snabe listing out several customer names using HANA and deriving value in production ? Assuming 20% of the pipeline will close sales – it should bring in 72M in 2011. May be for a 1.0 product that is pretty good.
So then what happens when HANA moves under BW as its database? There are about 15000 installations or so of BW as I heard somewhere. How many of these will move from ORCL, DB2 etc to HANA? I am not convinced there will be a mass exodus from existing DB to HANA DB. For one – SAP needs to prove HANA can be fail safe in HA environments. And of course legacy DB vendors are not dumb – they will use licensing terms, instability of a new product and other FUD to delay a transition. It is an even bigger problem when HANA goes under business suites. So how much money will SAP make out of HANA eventually?Remains to be seen.
Moving on to On Demand – they have two things at play. ByD and LOB on demand. In my opinion, it is hard for SAP to make it big on ByD any time soon. They started late, had delays, and still are aiming for low numbers. There is also the worry of cannibalizing ERP on premises. Maybe some day this will change – but not soon enough.
However, LOB on demand solutions I think is a money shot. Compared to HANA – the upfront development cost is low. A small team of product managers need to figure out a good solution. Technology is already there from ByD, and since both report into same SAP executive in Peter L, I am pretty sure ByD can be extended as needed for a good reason, if an on-demand application needs it. Development skills are existing – not new, like HANA. And even if SAP takes time to sell this – one big customer is all they would need to break even. And since it is on internet, it can reach more people quickly. And they can/should be used on mobile. And once you institutionalize the development process – each successive application can be made faster and cheaper.
However, on flip side there are two big issues. One – it is never easy for a small developer to be an SAP partner to build applications on top. And two – SAP needs scalable data centers to host this. Neither is particularly easy to pull off soon.
And then there is mobility – which should be the easiest place for SAP to make money., given the growing market. Every client I know of has a mobility initiative. And very few know what SAP has to offer. Which is a pity to say the least.
Bottom line – SAP seems to portray the next big things as HANA, On Demand and Mobility. And I think it should be exactly the other way around. What say you?