SAP President DJ Panoni
SAP President DJ Panoni

SAP Rejects Larry Ellison Claims of Customer Turmoil: ‘Demand Is Exploding’

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Citing “exploding demand” for SAP cloud products and RISE program, North America president DJ Paoni brushed aside the intense criticism leveled recently by Oracle’s Larry Ellison and said customer momentum is stronger than at any point in his 25-year career.  

(In my weekly Cloud Wars Top 10 rankings, SAP is #5 and Oracle is #6.)

The conversation with Paoni came about following detailed disclosures last week by Oracle chairman Ellison in which he named more than 100 SAP customers that have switched some or all of their enterprise applications from SAP to Oracle.

“We have very strong momentum across the board right now, and especially in the cloud,” Paoni said in a phone conversation that was later supplemented by some big new customer wins that I’ll share in detail below.

“We’re focused 100% on our customers and generating successful outcomes for them and helping them modernize, not putting them in the middle of a public-relations battle. Our RISE program to simplify customers’ moves to the intelligent enterprise is absolutely exploding and the responses have been very positive among big companies and midmarket companies as well,” Paoni said.

“I started at SAP almost 25 years ago—half my life!—and I’ve been through it all, and I’m telling you that I’ve never seen this much excitement and momentum about our strategy and where we’re headed.”

Regarding the claims from Ellison, Paoni offered the following:

  • Of the 100 or so customer names cited by Oracle, 80% are planning to make “significant investments” with SAP in 2021
  • Dow, cited by Ellison as having installed Oracle Fusion Supply Chain Management and Transportation Management, has publicly confirmed that it is “a long-time strategic customer of SAP”
  • Keurig Dr. Pepper, which Ellison said has acquired Fusion Supply Chain Management, said it “continues to rely on SAP to run our business” and has very recently made additional investments in SAP S/4HANA cloud ERP

SAP also shared details of some major new customer engagements as evidence of the bullish outlook expressed above by Paoni.

Hillrom is a global leader in medical technology touching more than 7 million patients each day by enabling rapid diagnosis and treatment, optimizing surgical efficiency, accelerating patient recovery, and shifting care closer to home.

Early in 2020, Hillrom’s business was accelerating following some acquisitions and rising demand for their service, and when the pandemic hit a year ago CIO Sven Krause decided to make a full commitment to the cloud with SAP and RISE.

Over the next month, Krause and team are rolling out SAP S/4HANA Cloud across 100 countries. 

Earlier this month, Krause joined SAP in an online webinar to discuss Hillrom’s journey to the cloud. On a LinkedIn post, he wrote, “Rise with SAP and SAP PCE [Private Cloud Edition] allow us to rethink our digital journey as a medical technology player and I’m looking forward to discuss customer priorities around outcomes, experiences, and opportunities.”

Gilead, a $22-billion pharmaceutical company based in the U.S. and doing business in 35 countries, needed a global ERP platform to help optimize operations around the world and chose S/4HANA as the flagship for their transformation portfolio. 

Along with S/4HANA, Gilead his deploying SAP Ariba, Analytics Cloud, Cloud Platform, Asset Intelligence Network, Supply Chain, Cash App, Multibank, and Learning Hub.

Vodafone has made a major commitment to S/4HANA, as detailed in this article.

Aramco Europe recently migrated from legacy on-premises systems to S/4HANA Cloud and several related solutions to “improve operations, tighten portfolio oversight and governance, and inform agile decision-making.”

Those recent S/4HANA implementations are underscoring the company’s bullishness for its RISE program to help customers simplify their journeys to the cloud and also for  SAP’s new Industry Cloud offerings, Paoni said.

“Top of mind for customers right now is how can they embrace the cloud at an acclerated pace to be able to move faster than ever before with scale, resilience and adaptability plus and end-to-end view,” Paoni said. 

“They’re really excited about the flexibility RISE gives them—one contract, one offer, one hand to shake—and so far, customers are saying it’s really been a guiding light for them as they accelerate into the cloud.”

In another new area, Paoni said, demand for Industry Cloud is “huge, it’s exploding, and he cited the development of Paoni cited the rapid development of Industry Cloud as the latest example of the company “reinventing itself over and over” in its 50-year history.

“We’re really excited about where we’re going with Industry Cloud because it includes not only innovation from SAP but also our ecosystem. Companies like Bosch and Honeywell are taking full advantage of the fact that, for the past 50 years, a real pillar for SAP has been our ability to really understand the industries we’re in and develop not just the technologies but also understand the best processes.”

Disclosure: at the time of this writing, SAP and Oracle were among the many clients of Cloud Wars Media LLC and/or Evans Strategic Communications LLC.


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