I have been excerpting here from the book’s case studies. They profile 12 strategies across four groupings of customers A) Un-adopters B) Diversifiers C) Pragmatists and D) Committed.
The customer profiled below is part of the third group which has four strategies in the book:
When I heard about Project Slingshot at British Gas, and SAP’s role in it, I was eager to profile it in the book. There are so many unique aspects to the project; CRM, industry extensions, the Internet of Things, a systems integrator who delivers on budget — many of which are elusive to find these days in the SAP roadmap where most recent focus has gone to HANA projects. So, I pursued an interview with Cooper, even delaying the release of the book to include his comments. What I expected was an enthusiastic analysis of the project — instead I got a flattering commentary on the outcomes based performance by the systems integrator, Cognizant, but also questions about SAP’s direction.
Such problems are common with “over customization” of the SAP software. They also reflected SAP’s functional immaturity in this industry vertical, when the project was started over a decade ago. Given this track record in the B2C segment, and that a previous B2B implementation had stalled for a number of years, a different approach was called for. Having come from the telecom industry where SAP has not been a significant industry vendor, Cooper evaluated his options for Slingshot with an open mind. He says he decided to stay with SAP because it was the least-costly option providing the project stuck with
Besides the Red Hat investment, Cooper is a big believer in other open-source software and commodity platforms. From a Big Data perspective, British Gas has a significant commitment to Apache Hadoop. He also likes to use commodity hardware as it is easily swappable and scalable in the form of low-cost servers. The proprietary SAP appliance hardware from its partners around HANA goes against that philosophy. British Gas has evaluated HANA and thinks it is fine for speedier queries. In order to replace its Oracle database, however, HANA would have to match resilience and disaster recovery thresholds needed for heavy transaction processing. When considering the business case for HANA, the years of experience in the team working with the Oracle database and the cost of retraining need to be considered. His conclusion so far
is — British Gas does not have a burning performance problem today to justify the risks of moving to HANA as a transaction engine.