In addition, SAP watchers will be looking for potential new integration points and upgrades for the cloud applications SAP bought through the acquisitions of SuccessFactors and Ariba.
Will the game change yet again?: SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott is not shy about trotting out sports metaphors in his public remarks, such as his reference to SAP's $5.8 billion acquisition of Sybase in 2010 as a "game-changing transaction."
SAP kept spending big on acquisitions since then, scooping up cloud application vendors SuccessFactors and Ariba for nearly $8 billion in total. It's not clear whether more big deals are on the imminent horizon, but it's possible to take a few guesses at the sort of acquisitions SAP might pursue.
This year, it formed a partnership with NetBase for its social media analytics, but SAP may end up deciding that such technologies are better owned. That could lead to an acquisition of Netbase or one of the many other social analytics providers, such as Lithium and Attensity. Oracle and Salesforce.com have already bought into social analytics with their respective purchases of Collective Intellect and Radian6.
Oracle made a big splash this week with its acquisition of marketing automation vendor Eloqua for $871 million. While SAP already has such tools, so did Oracle. Its decision to acquire Eloqua spoke to how complex a task marketing automation has become in the age of social media and mobile devices. SAP could decide it needs to acquire a company such as Eloqua competitor Marketo in order to keep pace.
Another breakout product: Over the past year or so, SAP has retooled its research strategy around the notion of internal startups. Rather than having teams of white-coated scientists toil away endlessly in some ivory research tower, churning out experiment after experiment but nothing ready for commercial sale, the goal now is to choose ideas that SAP believes could represent a $200 million market opportunity within three to five years.
HANA is widely considered a success, and at the least, one of the biggest breakout products SAP has had in quite some time. Next year, it will be interesting to see whether SAP's revamped research program can produce something that sparks as big a fire as HANA. Like every company, however, the best ideas still need major buy-in from the top brass.