Why SAP is foundering

By Michael Hickins  |  Posted 2008-05-19 Print this article Print


Workday still doesn't have a full ERP suite to truly compete with the likes of SAP, but it does benefit from having been built from scratch with the Web in mind. So has Business ByDesign, but SAP has to do more than change its code base; it has to change its culture.

Paul Wallis, co-founder of data systems builder Stroma Software, suggested in a comment to a blog from Dennis Howlett, that SAP may be having trouble designing a new, more people-friendly user interface. (SAP is known for being extremely people-unfriendly, which is why its Duet with Microsoft is such a good idea.)

"There are changes afoot in the way enterprise applications are sold. Enterprise applications get so ingrained within a business that changing to a competitor is a very unpalatable proposition. So in order to find new markets, enterprise software vendors are seeing that by changing their message slightly and using newer technologies, they can move away from the big, clumsy monolithic applications of old and start appealing to small and medium size businesses-essential if they are to expand their client base. New business from new market sectors.

The shift toward more nimble, Web-based platforms forces a change in price point. And that changes the sale more toward the high-volume, low-cost software application sector. And that forces a change in user interface."

SAP has not been very clear as to why it has had to delay the release of Business ByDesign.

In the meantime, as Joshua Greenbaum noted in his blog, competitors such as Workday have an opportunity to exploit SAP's weaknesses.

Mark Newsome, senior corporate HR manager at McKee Foods, said McKee decided to replace its PeopleSoft system with Workday's HCM application because of a more user-friendly interface that is built for managers rather than "power users."


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel