There has been some noteworthy news regarding enterprise technology provider SAP.

Yesterday, the business software provider made a significant announcement regarding its marketing leadership.  SAP appointed Maggie Chan Jones, a former Level 3 Communications and Microsoft marketing executive as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). The news release cites her extensive cloud technology marketing experience as important for the renewed emphasis of SAP’s marketing efforts. Ms. Jones will be based in SAP’s Global Marketing office in New York City.

Former CMO Jonathan Becher has been appointed to the new role of Chief Digital Officer.  Becher will lead a new business unit to expand entry into new areas of digital content and data.  With this change, SAP will combine its existing online stores into one SAP Store where prospective buyers can discover, buy, download or upgrade software, services and content.

By our Supply Chain Matters lens, these moves indicate a far more aggressive SAP stance for leveraging cloud applications and cloud-based customer technology delivery.  The new role of Chief Digital Officer will be especially challenging since it foretells of less influence and touch points for SAP’s direct sales and system implementation partner teams, who have garnered considerable influence these past years.  SAP’s current CEO, Bill McDermott’s background is direct sales, and his active sponsorship of this new effort will be something for SAP customers to monitor in the coming months.  One thing is certain for the short-term, we do not foresee SAP customers downloading mission critical business software from a storefront.

On an entirely different front, both SAP and Oracle recently agreed to settle their long-standing legal battle regarding alleged software copyright infringements from SAP’s prior acquisition of now defunct TomorrowNow. Under the settlement, SAP will pay Oracle $359 million to settle this case. In August, an Appeals court overturned a previous $1.3B jury award against SAP, instead identifying true damages as $356.7 million. SAP has now agreed to pay Oracle that amount and added interest charges, plus a previous payment of $120 million for legal and dismissal fees.

In early September, Supply Chain Matters opined that it was time for both SAP and Oracle to move on from their four year legal bitter legal battle. TomorrowNow, has obviously turned out to be not one of SAP’s most astute acquisitions and was time to put aside the egos from both sides. Both technology providers have suffered public embarrassments in the eyes of each’s individual customers and both have other pressing needs in terms of investments and services for supply chain, manufacturing, procurement and B2B network customers.

Bob Ferrari