Last October, SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott visited InformationWeek’s office in Manhattan and told us that SAP was ready to “unleash the tiger and go for the SAP Cloud in a big way.” About six weeks later, the company announced its $3.4 billion acquisition of software-as-a-service human capital management (HCM) vendor SuccessFactors.
With that deal finalized in February, SuccessFactors’ contribution explains nearly all of the 1,200% year-over-year increase in cloud subscription and support revenues SAP reported with its second-quarter earnings last week. (SAP also has the $4.3 billion acquisition of Ariba in the regulatory approval stage, but that deal is really more about supply chain management than competing with the likes of Salesforce.com.) So we asked McDermott, in a phone call after last week’s earnings press conference, “Is the tiger fully unleashed, or are there other big cloud moves likely from SAP?”
“The big move was getting SuccessFactors because we needed the [cloud] DNA and the leadership,” responded McDermott. “It just wasn’t in the company. We had to get an outsider to tell us, ‘your baby is not that great looking.’”
The baby in question was SAP Business ByDesign and the larger SAP cloud strategy. The truth teller with cloud-computing genes is Lars Dalgaard, SuccessFactors’ CEO and now the SAP executive board member charged with running the company’s entire cloud
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