Salesforce strategy is 'easy and requires no real innovation', says SAP's head of corporate strategy

By Sooraj Shah
04 Jun 2014 View Comments
SAP building

SAP has hit back at claims from rival Salesforce that there is no innovation coming from the company.

Salesforce's EMEA chairman, Steve Garnett, told Computing in January that there was "no innovation, no growth and no love" coming out of the German business software company.

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He suggested that SAP was "envious" of what Salesforce was doing, and suggested that many of Salesforce's customers had decided to switch from SAP to the US software-as-a-service (SaaS) company.

"There's no growth coming from SAP to their customers, either. Most of our major customers were SAP customers before they were Salesforce customers. And they chose with their pockets to come from SAP. To grow their revenues, they chose to come with Salesforce," he said.

In response, Deepak Krishnamurthy, senior vice president and head of corporate strategy at SAP, suggested that Salesforce.com's strategy didn't require innovation as it was easy to focus on developing applications for "simple" business scenarios. 

"It is very easy to develop applications at the edge that aid simple business scenarios. Real innovation comes when you take a complex process and make it simple," he told Computing.

He used the example of Simple Finance, a set of applications based on SAP's in-memory database HANA, which aims to run processes such as month-end close in real-time, rather than having to batch jobs. SAP announced the new suite at SAP Sapphire in Orlando, and SAP's CIO Ingrid-Helen Arnold demonstrated the new product on stage – explaining that a key benefit was its navigational functionality.

Krishnamurthy said that it "completely radically simplifies a process like finance so that you can search for information in real-time". This, he believes, is "where real innovation is".

He claimed that SAP's competitors have merely "started copying and mimicking us".

"It's a great form of flattery because we built the first in-memory database that was commercially available, so we're changing the stack fundamentally from the ground up. Once you do that you can deploy cloud-based applications, and social applications," he said.

Krishnamurthy went on to suggest that SAP Jam, the German company's collaboration tool, had more users - "15 million and counting" - than Salesforce's Chatter. 

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