SAP Chairman Plattner On What Could Kill Company - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
Commentary
2/14/2010
09:34 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
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SAP Chairman Plattner On What Could Kill Company

While profits remain enormously important to SAP, co-founder and chairman Hasso Plattner said in public comments last week that if SAP were to try to stifle another particularly vital imperative for the sake of profits, "that could kill the company."

While profits remain enormously important to SAP, co-founder and chairman Hasso Plattner said in public comments last week that if SAP were to try to stifle another particularly vital imperative for the sake of profits, "that could kill the company."Answering a question from a financial analyst about the company's ability to continue driving the profits that investors require while also developing vibrant new products, Plattner said this:

"We cannot say we can let it go on the margin side, despite some German politicians who are quite fancy to tell us we, uh, don't have to be in this race of the U.S.-style capitalism. We have to. We cannot say we will push back innovation for a year or two-that could kill the company."

It's a striking comment for a couple of reasons: first of all, customers and employees and partners (not to mention shareholders!) must have been heartened Plattner's passionate commitment to investing in the new products SAP needs to transform from offering almost exclusively on-premise products to a balanced portfolio of that includes SaaS and cloud-based products and services.

And second, because of his oblique mention of German politicians recommending that SAP and other Germany-based companies "don't have to be in this race of the U.S.-style capitalism"-what's that all about? But that's a subject for another time-let's get back to Plattner's comments on innovation. He continued his remarks from above with this pledge to get the whole company united behind delivering great new offerings:

"So we have to do [innovations and profits] simultaneously and this is the objective not only for the management but the objective for the whole company: to be totally aligned behind this strategy."

For more on Plattner's broad comments and the outlook for SAP with his re-emergence as well as its two new co-CEOs, please check out these two columns and a blog post from last week:

Global CIO: An Open Letter To SAP Chairman Hasso Plattner

Global CIO: SAP's Last Chance: It's The Customers, Stupid!

SAP Chairman Vows Not To Interfere

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