Cloud computing an opportunity, not drain on existing model: SAP's Jim Hagemann Snabe
In his last quarter of $22-bn SAP, Jim Hagemann Snabe outlines achievements of his 4-yr tenure as co-CEO. Defending the joint CEO model, he discusses why he was stepping down in May.
Snabe, 48, defended the joint CEO model, and discussed why he was stepping down in May. Excerpts from an interview:
What are your thoughts on the concept of Co-CEO model and why are you stepping down?
In the last three years, we have proven that two CEOs is always better than one. We had the power of having four ears, two brains and four hands and very few global CEOs have that. Armed with that power, we have been able to re-invent the company much faster than we could have as a single CEO.
We used to be just an ERP company, now we are full-fledged solution company providing everything from data, cloud to mobile software. This would not have been possible in four years with one CEO. It was my greatest pleasure to partner with co-CEO Bill McDermott. Regarding stepping down, after over 20 years of my work life in SAP, I needed time to rethink my life and where I want to take it next.
Will you be turning an entrepreneur or a venture capitalist in your next avatar?
(Laughs…)We'll see where it goes from here on. But we have always seen that start-ups are the smallest companies with the biggest ideas. And in many ways we have tried to move SAP as one of the biggest start-up in the world, and HANA is great outcome of that. There is no doubt that I have big heart for big ideas. And I am at a stage, where I get a lot of motivation from helping others.
With clients opting for cloud, both vendors and system integrators are struggling for business and profitability. How is SAP evolving with such changing dynamics?
The days of long very heavy lifting and on-premises implementation are coming to an end. We are able to implement software in a week today, not even months or years. When more customers choose cloud options, it means there are no implementation projects at all for many SIs.
In order to help such partners, we are offering two opportunities: one, to take all our software into a HANAbased infrastructure and sell it to the customer, where the SI becomes the cloud company.
Secondly, with HANA and our mobile software we are offering them to innovate business models for customers. (HANA is short for high performance analytic appliance, and refers to software that queries data sitting in a computing device’s temporary or random-access memory RAM. This typically makes the process faster versus querying data in the hard disc for instance.)
What is your vision for the India business and the SAP Labs? Would SAP let the Indian subsidiary take more control?
India has always fascinated me. I have been to India not only in its large cities but have spent considerable time in its rural areas. I am amazed by the diversity the country offers. In the technology world, when people say that you have to be in India, because of the labour arbitrage it offers, I say it is completely wrong.
We have realised that India has the most talented people in the world. So back in 2005, we changed ambition in India. The reason to be in India was to get access to talent. I moved full product responsibility to Indian teams and moved product heads and management there as well. The change was radical, we got best innovation, not the cheapest. My vision for SAP was to have a network of capabilities not a headquarter with subsidiaries.