All of these initiatives "seem to be struggling with focused execution and attention," said software industry analyst and consultant Vinnie Mirchandani of Deal Architect. SAP officials may find themselves pressed to explain how they'll keep all those plates spinning steadily as 2013 unfolds.
HANA as a Trojan horse?: SAP recently said it had reached 1,000 HANA customers. It's not clear how many of those customers are running anything in production with HANA, nor what percentage of them are new to SAP technology, versus installed base members investing in the platform.
SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott has referred to HANA as a "Trojan horse" that helps it penetrate into non-SAP customers, something crucial to the database's revenue growth. If SAP has had success doing this, expect to hear about it on the call.
Sorting out the SaaS strategy: SAP has decided to break its cloud business into a number of segments and categories.
Thematically, they are grouped under the headers of people, suppliers, money and customers. SuccessFactors and Ariba, both of which SAP acquired in the past year or so, cover the first two and are the most well-established. But SAP's Financials OnDemand and SAP 360 Customer products, which hit on the latter two categories, are fairly new entrants. It will be interesting to see whether SAP provides any sense of how those offerings are ramping up in sales.
Another key topic could concern Business ByDesign, the SaaS ERP (enterprise resource planning) suite for midmarket customers and divisions of large enterprises. An update on its customer count may come on Wednesday.
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com