Robert Enslin is Latest in SAP Exodus

Despite a corporate restructure-inspired resignation, Robert Enslin doesn’t need to be added to anyone’s prayer list just yet. The German company recently announced that their cloud commander would be leaving to “pursue an external opportunity” and, as it turns out, that pursuit ends with him as Google Cloud’s president of global operations.

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Of the departure, Enslin shared his news in a Twitter announcement: “Though my tenure with SAP has come to an end, my personal belief and public advocacy for SAP’s innovation and vision to help the world run better never will. Thank you Hasso Plattner, Bill McDermott & dear colleagues for 27 spectacular years.”

Enslin is only the most recent in a long list of those who have jumped ship, walked the plank or have otherwise been pushed off deck as SAP sets a new sailing cloud-course. Senior leader Bjorn Goerke departed his position as chief technical officer after thirty years with the company; Bernd Leukert resigned as head of Digital Business Services in February; and Richard Heilman shared that he was laid-off from his role as director of SAP Labs in March.

In response to the latest events, SAP has sent out their email statement that speaks to their strategic shift in direction: “SAP is constantly changing to adapt to market and customer needs. As part of this ongoing transformation, SAP has decided to undertake a company-wide restructuring program in 2019 across all board areas. This will allow us to invest in key growth areas while implementing required changes in other areas to ensure they are prepared for the future. SAP currently estimates that globally approximately 4,400 employees across all board areas will leave the company under the restructuring program.”

Like many legacy tech companies, SAP is undergoing an important transition that involves a careful analysis of their current business. They are deciding on future direction and developing a plan on how best to proceed – this often involves cutting some services and cultivating others. Many employees took to the site “” to share their experiences and ideas about what’s been happening at the company. Some feel that HANA, the company’s enterprise resource planning software package, will have a short-lived future at SAP.

“HANA is [a] goner, too expensive, and in-memory is widely available at cheaper prices,” said an anonymous user. “S/4HANA is [also a] goner. It runs on HANA and there is little functional enhancement…Most customers who hold the license do it due to license trade-in credits.”

This sentiment has been echoed by Josh Greenbaum, principal analyst at Enterprise Applications Consulting. “SAP has realized that it needs to shift their strategy and their priorities,” he said in a recent interview. “SAP is not going to own the biggest or best database… [even though HANA] is an excellent product, very successful, and no doubt a pioneering, real-time database.”

CEO Bill McDermott, who has spearheaded SAP’s reshuffling, is trying something different. “If you can’t beat ‘em, you join ‘em” is his motto as he forges partnerships with leading cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft’s Azure and Alibaba.

“We believe in customer choice,” CEO of SAP, Bill McDermott, shared in a recent interview. “If a customer chooses to have a hyperscale [cloud] relationship with Alibaba, Amazon, Microsoft or Google then that’s the customer’s choice. Our job is to build the reference architecture for the SAP software…make it excellent for multiple clouds.”