SAP’s cloud chief quits

Brian Duffy, president of cloud at SAP, has announced he will be handing back the reins after a little over two years in the role.

Duffy is an SAP veteran, having risen through the ranks since starting back in 2005 and progressing to the top job after three and a half years in the president EMEA North role.

Once SAP’s youngest regional president, it’s clear the software giant has lost a bright spark from its ranks with Duffy’s departure.

An SAP spokesperson exclusively told ERP Today on Friday: “Brian Duffy has decided to leave SAP to pursue opportunities outside of the organization. Brian played a key role in SAP’s success, most recently building the foundation for customer adoption and brand awareness of RISE with SAP, the heart of SAP’s strategy and one of our most successful offerings ever. We wish Brian much success in his next chapter.”

With cloud driving revenues for SAP’s financial results last fiscal year, Duffy oversaw a S/4HANA cloud revenue rise of 91 percent to €2bn last year, with an additional backlog rise of 84 percent – worth over €3.1bn to company coffers.

Following these results, SAP’s focus was set on its flagship S/4HANA offering and the ongoing updates to its Business Technology Platform (BTP). But with the head of cloud leaving, the question remains as to who will be directing this march, and whether the weight of the current macroeconomic storm is causing Christian Klein’s cloud to begin to crack under the pressure.

The news follows an uneasy start to the year for SAP, as last month the company joined the long list of technology firms making cuts to their workforces. In addition, the firm announced plans in January to sell its stake in Qualtrics, the customer experience software developer, after the original $8bn acquisition back in 2019.

Reducing the headcount by 2.5 percent, 3000 SAP employees were asked to leave the fold the same month, a decision set to save SAP up to €350m next year. CEO Klein had said that the layoffs and Qualtrics stake sale were part of a “targeted restructuring in select areas of the company.”

But as developments keep coming for SAP, one has to wonder how much more restructuring is set to happen for the firm. It’s not been long since SAP’s UKI MD also quit the scene, the twelfth through the door in 16 years. With this latest cloud departure SAP is presented with a tricky problem in the run-up to the ECC 6.0 maintenance deadline.

Last July, Duffy spoke to ERP Today, stating: “For our net new customers, it becomes a much easier conversation in terms of moving to the cloud. For our install base, it’s harder because they have a legacy, and we know that it can sometimes be holding us back.”

It’s true – while S/4HANA take-up has been steady, it is still lagging behind expectations. Some customers have complained the change management and training provided is not at the right levels for an easy shift to the platform, while some target clients seem to prefer a piecemeal approach to cloud software upgrades.

With the 2027 ECC 6.0 deadline looming ever closer, SAP has seen great success in cloud growth and new customer wins, but the tech giant still needs to ensure that its existing small and mid-tier customers aren’t falling through the cloud cracks.