back to article SAP hits 50: Entrenched, spread out and fully middle-aged

Like so many stories in the history of computing, it involves Xerox. Scientific Data Systems was sold by Xerox to IBM as part of a hardware deal. When Big Blue canned a related software project, a group of five German engineers saw an opportunity. Dietmar Hopp, Klaus Tschira, Hans-Werner Hector, Hasso Plattner, and Claus …

  1. Andy Mac

    "From their perspective, among things it got right were creating a business model in which CIOs and consulting firms could benefit personally by persuading their employer and clients to buy SAP, irrespective of whether that was the right thing for the company to do.

    That’s a rather long-winded way of saying “bribery”

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      It worked though!!

      Now they're pushing everyone into cloud - stop paying and your business stops.

    2. IncreasinglyDisaffected

      Everyone's all G until the IRS shows up

      US-Centric warning and this isn't legal advice: Bribery (or in some cases "honest services theft") involves proverbial sacks of cash. This is more like "breach of fiduciary duty" which is mighty hard to conclusively prove - it could have just been incompetence. For that matter, honest services theft may or may not be illegal depending on which federal court circuit you're in. Just remember to report the income. :-)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    $WORKPLACE introduced SuccessFactors a few months ago. Amongst things it cannot do are "display payslips", "display P60 forms" or "keep accurate leave records".

  3. arthoss

    9999 a.d.

    That's how long SAP will exist in its current version till the next version will be widely adopted. There is a joke in here somewhere.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is good and bad in the box

    There is a lot of good stuff in SAP, and if you use approximetly business standard processes then it's not that painful to use and it does work reliably and well.

    At the same time there are a lot of poorly or non-integrated bits that are just there (e.g. Concur). Getting them to work is a pain.

    I've progammed in SAP for nearly 20 years and still do, and it does pay my bills. It's not always the best solution, but where it fails it's usually becase the user broke it or shouldn't have bought it....!

  5. aldolo

    sex come at cost

    every customer ask for sexy apps until the bill come in. old fashion sap apps are ready to go in a snap compared to any other tecnology i've used before.

    1. nintendoeats Silver badge

      Re: sex come at cost

      Yeah, that part of the article made me cringe. I am very happy for industrial applications to look and feel industrial, because more than anything else I want them to work. If adding a fade-in could make something break (which it can, because all features can make something break), don't put it in the thing I use to do my job please.

      When you go to a store employee and ask them "do you have X" and they punch some information you completely do not understand in a green terminal from 1983, you know you are talking to the right person. Less so when they just open the store's website and search.

  6. IncreasinglyDisaffected

    SAPGUI really stank

    SAPGUI always gave me the impression it was a very thin GUI shim on top of a headless 3270 emulator. I'm curious if that's actually the case.

    1. lonely at the bottom

      Re: SAPGUI really stank

      True, the infamous "three-layer architecture" is no more than good-old 1970's mainframe repackaged as client-server, when in reality a single, monolithic block of code exists behind the scenes, controlling both the front-end device, the business logic and the database via SQL statements submitted to the partner's DBMS. This is also every traditional player's primary problem for bringing into cloud the legacy applications, it would need a rewrite from scratch to deploy cloud-native applications (thus the shopping spree) or alternatively the much more difficult task of separating the concerns, decoupling application components, provisioning of APIs etc. I am surprised they have done so little through the years in that context and only recently it was addressed by CEO Klein.

      1. Lonpfrb

        Re: SAPGUI really stank

        Moving from the mainframe technology of R/2 DynPro to R/3 kept the business application safe while the runtime looked after the different presentation layers (3270,GUI). So that made sense for SAP standard and customer bespoke application code.

        The various attempts to become web enabled; WebDynpro, BSP, ICM, Mobile, showed that a better presentation layer was needed for a multi-channel user experience that was app simple and business process focused. Fiori is that presentation layer and started to give focus to the user experience from Business Suite (ECC 6) onwards.

        Innovation with Fiori 3 design has enabled SAP to integrate the UX of all their historically diverse products into one, which returns to the appearance of a single application, whilst really being scaled across multiple cloud instances.

        Underneath Fiori the OData services move to a service oriented architecture to better support working at scale in the cloud.

        Of course Fiori is the standard presentation in S/4 working on premise and in the cloud. So both SAP Intelligent Suite and customer extensions are safe investments or operational expenses as you choose.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Like me

    SAP is old and going senile. Just like me.

    Having never touched SAP with a ten foot cane, I can't say if it breaks wind as well or just budgets.

  8. scubaal

    on the one hand.....

    The main advantage of SAP is that 'it can be customised to do anything' (says sales person)

    The main disadvantage of SAP is that 'it can be customised to do anything' (says CIO/CTO/Teccie)

    The net result of the endless customisation over decades is systems that are vertually impossible to maintain and/or upgrade. Things get implemented becuase 'of course we can make it do that, Mr Business Exec' - without ever asking whether the underlying business process/logic make sense.

    I once had the misfortune to be a tech exec responsible for a SAP system that had 'higher duties' allowances calculated three different ways within the SAME IMPLEMENTATION - which had been added to the decade long lifespan of the system (at that point)

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: on the one hand.....

      I hope you paid the licence for all 3 calculations!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BO! Satan's own malware!

    The fact that they own Business Objects, a marriage made in heaven as they're both a cesspit of configurability that ensures companies stay tied down to one piece of software for 20+ years with zero improvement and have to keep people around who do little but expect to reap benefit off the company medical and pension plans. That's not everyone but every BO install I've had the misfortune to get involved with has been staffed by the sort of people who should never have ever been allowed near computers, ever!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please run grammarly and spend 1/10th the time you spent writing this on q proofread.

    S4/HANA should be S/4HANA, for example.

    SAP is not filled with groups of evil or groups of crooks - not by a longshot. There are great people who do really great things for the business world and for the greater world at large. But sometimes they get stuck behind themselves. Or a competitor. Sometimes even great people make mistakes or err in judgment.

    The mission of this company is solid but sometimes they get lost on the journey. Sometimes, while at sea, they'll throw a thousand overboard just to keep the ship afloat. While that ship is selling, it's sometimes even hits Stormy weather and so far, has made it through those storms in pretty good shape.

    Most of us won't be around to see if sap makes it 50 more years but I'll celebrate where the company is today from a user, implementer, or employee perspective.

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