As a piece of terminology, SAP doesn’t officially use the label “satellite” to refer to the smaller brands that now sit under the mothership umbrella. Indeed, the company would probably think the term disparaging as it in some way infers a lower-league status for sub-businesses staffed by employees who all are valued equally.
We Care a Lot
Many of the smaller players in the total SAP orchestra are by no means small in the big picture, that is—they go toward building the total offering that SAP goes to market with day in and day out. Many of the component part SAP divisions come from acquisitions, internally developed initiatives, or as pieces of (still useful) legacy technology that might remind us of a time when SAP was ”just” an ERP company. Remember, legacy technology is technology that still works, that’s why it’s still around.
A to Z of SAP
We know that SAP often tells us that it runs the ship with an operational base focused on 25 industry verticals into 12 lines of business across on-premise, cloud, and hybrid deployments. But it’s harder to find out how many brands exist under the hood because the firm prefers to remind us of figures like the one noting that 76% of the world’s transaction revenues run on an SAP system.
In search of a breakdown then, the SAP A-Z products website features some 548 mentions of the letters SAP on the page. Each entry mentions the name SAP in the title and at least once in the body copy of the link on offer. So then, halve 548 and round it down for prudence and we can probably safely say that SAP has more than 200 product offerings—some of them related brand divisions, some of them entire business units.
While we don’t need to remind you that SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Ariba, SAP Fiori, SAP BusinessObjects, SAP Lumira, SAP Hybris, or SAP NetWeaver all exist as big hitters around the SAP family dinner table, there are plenty of smaller names that the casual SAP enthusiast could arguably spend an enjoyable afternoon getting to know.
Why, for example, are most of us not familiar enough with SAP Plant Connectivity as a key Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) brand from the SAP satellite smörgåsbord? Is there any reason why we haven’t thought about SAP Rural Sourcing Management as a star player in the traceable agriculture supply chain market? How about SAP Talent Vizualization for strategic career development initiatives, did we miss that one too? We could keep going here, SAP PowerDesigner for rapid data modelling jobs, a tool with its heritage in the Sybase acquisition. It’s worth clicking the first link in this story (the A-Z of products) just for a tour of the product groups.
We know that the big hitters make their own headlines and some even host dedicated conferences and events. But while some of the smaller bodies will remain mostly silent throughout the year, some divisions will mount their own press communications programs. As a perfect example, SAP Concur is the firm’s expense, travel, and invoice management solutions. Acquired back in 2014, the SAP Concur team has in January 2018 already detailed its work to drive deeper integration into the core SAP brand.
In summary then, these satellite brands are not lesser elements in any sense. Yes, SAP Leonardo and SAP HANA will continue to steal the limelight in 2018, but these lesser known elements of the total SAP stack should not be classified as diminutive offspring to the mothership. Rather then, they should be regarded as sibling brands to the complete SAP technology proposition.
While some firms actively and aggressively acquire (Oracle) and others find themselves having to divest corporate purchases and splinter off major divisions (Hewlett Packard Enterprise), SAP has arguably been more considered, more strategic, more Germanic perhaps in its work to build the universe according to its own version of intelligent design.
After all, satellites need a celestial object to gravitate toward. Surely SAP sees itself as the shining light at the center of the enterprise software solar system.