Strategic CIO // Executive Insights & Innovation
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8/10/2009
01:06 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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SAP CEO Apotheker Says No Hardware In SAP's Future

SAP CEO Leo Apotheker has no plans to buy a hardware company and is sticking with software, which he says makes SAP "more neutral" than Oracle and IBM. While that might be true, such status won't really amount to a hill of beans in CIOs' purchase decisions, which are focused on lowering internal IT costs and boosting revenue.

SAP CEO Leo Apotheker has no plans to buy a hardware company and is sticking with software, which he says makes SAP "more neutral" than Oracle and IBM. While that might be true, such status won't really amount to a hill of beans in CIOs' purchase decisions, which are focused on lowering internal IT costs and boosting revenue.In the same rambling New York Times article about SAP, Apotheker is apparently asked if he believes that CIOs today are trying to reduce the number of vendors they're working with. Apotheker's reply is elegant but doesn't really address the question - instead, Apotheker argues that nobody wants to buy everything from a single vendor. Here's his answer:

"I have never, ever heard a customer expressing the faintest wish for having everything delivered out of one hand," he said in an interview. "Someone is probably trying to imagine wishes that they would like to hear."

Too bad that either the Times' question was pointless - "Do CIOs want to buy all their IT products and services from one vendor?" - or Apotheker's answer was evasive, weaving in as it does the straw-man premise that nobody wants to buy everything from a single source. Nobody's going to disagree with that.

The only other relevant point in the article from Apotheker has to do with his insistence that while SAP will consider occasional acquisitions, it is fundamentally focused on building internally as many products as possible:

Noting that "SAP prefers to develop products in-house," Apotheker says, "We focus on engineering our stuff to the best extent humanly possible."

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