News broke last week that SAP was suing long-term client and global mega-brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev (brewers of Budweiser, Stella, Fosters amongst other beer of dubious quality) for the tidy sum of US$600M for license indiscretions. It is a staggering amount by any measure, and no doubt will be a complicated and bitter legal experience.
My tip no-one wins, except lawyers. ABInBev won’t win, they will clearly have to change their approach to SAP regardless of the outcome and may have to make an expensive exit strategy.
Their loss is nothing in comparison with SAP. With Sapphire NOW starting this week, all the legal action proves is that SAP is an incredibly desperate legacy vendor. It is impossible to contemplate or fathom suing your client for $600M. The action should have been stopped several lawyer meetings ago and well before numbers of $600M were thrown around like drunks in a bar.
Last year SAP had ABinBev as a speaker, this year; it faces a $600M bill. It might make some speakers this year think twice if that is how large embedded clients are treated.
Despite the challenges faced by fellow legacy vendors IBM, Oracle, Dell Technologies and others, it is unlikely that they would resort to such public legal action, particularly the week before inviting their “beloved” customers to Orlando to be wined, dined and then potentially sued. There is no way that Salesforce, AWS or Google would treat their clients this way, nor would vendors such as Accenture, Microsoft and Adobe, who have successfully made the switch to a digital ecosystem contemplate such action.
The technology world is changing. SAP in 2017, does not have the power of SAP in 2012, let alone 2007. The development, pricing, distribution and the consumption model has changed for software and of course all other aspects of technology procurement. The old world is not coming back. SAP has illustrated as clearly as it could that they do not understand this and that they are not going to change to meet the market.
Before this action, I had some faith that SAP could defy its legacy status and remain indispensable to clients. Suing major and public clients for US$600M has undermined that change. It is simply a sign of a desperate vendor, one that hasn’t changed, and won’t change.
If you require further information, please contact Phil Hassey, CEO of capioIT. capioIT is an advisory firm focused on helping organisations to understand emerging technology as the world becomes Digital. Phil may be contacted easily in the digital and real world.