New IDG survey report explores how IT leaders are accelerating innovation while maximizing SAP investments
IT leaders are feeling pressure on all sides. The business wants IT to accelerate innovation to take advantage of technologies such as big data, AI, and IoT. The budget dictates a fine balance between maximizing ROI from existing IT investments and delivering on ambitious organizational initiatives. Meanwhile, SAP licensees face expensive support and maintenance fees with limited budgets and vendor pressure to replatform to S/4HANA even though it is still maturing. Layer all of this with a global pandemic. COVID-19 forced IT leaders to act quickly and often veer away from the established roadmap, to stand up remote workspaces, and support completely new business models and processes.
To find out how these pressures are impacting SAP licensees, IDG conducted a global survey of hundreds of IT leaders running SAP from a dozen different industries across ten countries. The “Navigating the Future of SAP” survey report draws five key findings from the data. Though the results show broad satisfaction with licensees’ current SAP systems, frustration with SAP support and the pace of innovation loom large. Among the top data points in the report:
- 95% of respondents indicated their business needs are being fully or mostly met by their current SAP systems.
Respondents included licensees across S/4HANA, SAP Business Suite/ECC, and older generations. Of licensees running SAP ECC 6.0, first released in 2005, 44% said that their release still meets all of their business needs. Over time, most of these systems have been highly customized to meet specific business needs. As such, many licensees see no need to risk stable systems with an unnecessary migration that may offer little to no value.
- 80% reported that the pandemic accelerated demand for innovation.
According to Forbes, 97% of surveyed IT leaders reported that COVID-19 accelerated digital transformation. Projects slated for years down the road suddenly needed to be executed overnight. Prioritizing lean IT budgets to fund remote work platforms, engage cloud resources, and manage fluctuating demand became critical to survival. Many IT leaders began rethinking the expense of supporting and upgrading SAP systems where funds could be better spent innovating around the edges. Looking to the future, nearly half of respondents plan to focus on non-SAP, best-in-class ERP solutions as opposed to an unnecessary migration and the risk of further lock-in with SAP technologies.
- 85% are using or considering third-party support to optimize existing SAP investments.
With the myriad of challenges around costs and innovation, SAP licensees are seeking alternatives. The following results detail the top reasons that third-party support has emerged as a way for IT leaders to accelerate innovation, reduce costs, help maximize ROI, and fund
the new normal. Though hard benefits — such as the ability to significantly reduce support — led the responses, soft benefits — such as freeing team time to focus on strategic initiatives instead of SAP upgrades and maintenance — also weighed heavily. Gartner also concurs with this strategy in its recommendation to “evaluate third-party support as an alternative to direct vendor support in order to help fund future innovation.”
What else did IT leaders have to say about how they’re aligning the SAP roadmap to support the future? Find out by downloading the full report for the top five survey takeaways, including insights and recommendations.