With fresh results from the ASUG global user group research at their fingertips, Geoff Scott, ASUG CEO, and Jens Hungerhausen, chair of the German-speaker SAP User Group, recently discussed their members’ commonalities, differences, and what each organization can do to better serve members in the future.

The webinar discussion, hosted by Marissa Gilbert, ASUG Research Director, focused on select results of the 2022 SAP Global User Group Research: The Pace of Change and Role of SAP Solutions. Led by ASUG, research participants included 492 ASUG members, 434 DSAG members, and 213 from the Japan SAP Users’ Group, a third entity involved in the project. The webinar can be viewed here: https://www.asug.com/events/asug-and-dsag-insights-on-cross-border-pace-of-change-and-role-of-sap-solutions-research

During the webinar, Gilbert probed three topics related to the data:

  • Keeping up with change
  • Measuring work satisfaction, tenure, and retirement outlook
  • The role and importance of SAP solutions

On change, Gilbert asked Scott and Hungerhausen for insights on results indicating less than 20% of ASUG and DSAG participants said their organizations can completely keep up with the pace of change.

Change Management Opportunity

Scott noted the innovation curve fast track and the need “to do more on how change can be managed in organizations” as well as how business process complexity produces change challenges.

While in agreement with Scott, Hungerhausen said he isn’t “sure there is the will to change, in individuals and in organizations,” amid “rapid and increasingly disruptive change.”

Both leaders were asked to comment on the differences and similarities when respondents were asked about their IT landscapes and top technologies to cope with the pace of change. ASUG participants named cloud (59%) and dashboards/analytics (51%) as their top choices, while DSAG members cited self-services (59%) at the top, with cloud and dashboards/analytics tied for second (51% each).

Automation on the Agenda

Hungerhausen noted surprise that self-services “got top marks.” He believes automation and open platforms are more important in the German market. Meanwhile, Scott said the ASUG responses could indicate the importance of automation to “help address workforce and skills challenges” organizations face and that the “migration to cloud-based solutions will only continue to grow.”

Gilbert sought Scott and Hungerhausen’s commentary on barriers that organizations and management face. For DSAG, 63% cited a lack of in-house staff and skill shortages, making it the leading challenge, compared to 38% of ASUG respondents. On the ASUG side, the complexity of business transformation led the way at 49%.

Hungerhausen said the staff and skill shortage are very real, with several contributing factors. These include demographic shifts with fewer working people generally available, the changing demands on the existing workforce, a slow-to-adapt educational system, and highly qualified individuals leaving Germany.

Scott emphasized the need to attract the next-generation talent and workforce given the “pervasive” skills challenge, even as North America “may be seeing some abatement.”

Employment Tenure, Job Satisfaction

The employment tenure data showed the leading response from ASUG and DSAG respondents at more than 15 years on the job—ASUG at 28% and DSAG at 48%. Yet, the ASUG response base percentages then spread out: 22% at six-to-nine years, 18% at 10 to 15 years, and 17% at three-to-five years. Gilbert noted the ASUG data might reflect the “Great Resignation” impact.

On the job roles and overall workload satisfaction front, the research surfaced strong positive results. Among ASUG members, 75% said they were job satisfied while DSAG results showed 77% were satisfied. For the current workload, 70% of ASUG participants said they were satisfied, compared to 57% for DSAG. The webinar dialogue suggested user group membership may be a factor in helping boost job and workload satisfaction.

Both organizations’ results indicate strong demand for, first and foremost, cloud solutions now and for future IT landscapes and continued reliance on on-premises technology—in essence, members will deploy hybrid approaches. To help their organizations with change, cloud and premises-based solutions, and their many challenges, survey participants said they seek clear documentation and materials; shared information to reduce the effort involved in SAP upgrades; and more user-friendly solutions—from SAP, the SAP ecosystem, and the user communities.

In response, Scott said ASUG could offer support for: SAP roadmap sessions, organizations’ technology migrations, face-to-face, and virtual connections and networking opportunities. Hungerhausen said he recognizes “the great need for up-to-date information and guidance,” noting that networking is essential to user groups’ existence and plans to continue to build DSAG Academy.

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