The results of ASUG’s 2019 State of the Community study are in. We’ve got the latest SAP customer trends on software-buying power, what keeps IT employees excited about their jobs, who’s moving to SAP S/4HANA (and when), and more.

I recently celebrated my fifth anniversary with ASUG, and there’s no better way for me to mark that milestone than to share the results of our 2019 State of the Community study.

What’s in the ASUG State of the Community Study

ASUG’s research aims to capture a unique view of what the largest group of SAP users is thinking, doing, and planning for the future. These results are a set of benchmarks for fellow SAP customers, as well as a critical barometer for technology decision-making and practices.

Yet the results are more valuable than that: This research also helps drive ASUG’s plans for the year on education, content, events and customer engagement. The collective voice of SAP customers tells us where information and knowledge is needed most. What we learn in this study each year empowers ASUG to continue to deliver on our mission to help people and organizations get the most value from their investment in SAP technology. 

Let’s dig into some of the study’s most interesting results this year.

To see more results, download our detailed infographic featuring additional takeaways and trends.

What the ASUG Research Said: Buying Tech

According to our results, there are four main categories of buyers responsible for purchasing enterprise technology inside companies. Surprisingly, it’s not just IT chiefs: 42 percent of respondents told us that C-levels lead; 25 percent said that IT teams lead; 20 percent said buying committees lead; and 13 percent stated that line of business departments lead the process.

An interesting trend emerged when comparing 2018 and 2019 survey data: C-levels and IT have seen a 12 percent, year-over-year decrease in being the lead for tech purchasing. Tech purchase lead by line of business realized a 2-point increase during the same time period.

That tells me that enterprise tech purchasing must be a team sport. Any company making these momentous decisions in a silo—giving all the authority to one group—is likely to end up with a failure on its hands.

The other illuminating data point, for me, is what the respondents told us about emerging technologies. In short: AI and machine learning are the real deal. These two technologies, which we grouped together in this year’s survey, jumped in both interest and influence by an astounding 15 percentage points versus 2018 numbers. This means AI and machine learning are top-of-mind for respondents, who told us they expect these technologies to have a significant impact on their business within the next two years.

What the ASUG Research Said: Adopting SAP S/4HANA

Everyone wants to know what everyone else is doing with SAP S/4HANA. Here’s what our members told us: 56 percent have plans to move to SAP S/4HANA in the future; 16 percent have started to move; 16 percent are live; and 12 percent have no plans to migrate.

Of course, we want to know why SAP customers are waiting to move to SAP S/4HANA. The top reasons customers told us they are waiting 24 or more months are:

  • Prioritization
  • Lack of resources
  • Waiting for the product to mature
  • Needing a business case to make the move

This is critical information for ASUG and SAP. We will be delving deeper into it in 2019 to provide programming, education, and content on SAP S/4HANA.

What the ASUG Research Said: Evolving Tech Teams

What about the people working on technology teams today—what’s on their minds?

The most interesting finding to me was this: As much as we’re tired of hearing the word innovation, it matters to IT employees. More than half of our respondents (51 percent) say working for a company that’s an innovator affects their job satisfaction. And 44 percent say it affects how long they’ll stay with a company.

Our research also found that IT teams aren’t shrinking: 88 percent of IT teams are growing or are staying the same size this year.

Lastly, I was pleased to see that 49 percent of companies have IT teams dedicated to other departments. This is a great indicator that IT is moving out of the back office and into core areas of the business.

I’m eager to hear what you think of the results, so please email me with your thoughts or share your comments here.

Find more insights in ASUG’s 2019 State of the Community infographic.