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How many low-code products does an enterprise software biz need? Ask SAP, it's just swallowed another one

AppGyver disappears inside juggernaut's attempts to nurture more modern image

SAP has dipped its hand into the corporate loose change to snap up no-code app development firm AppGyver.

With just $11m in funding and 18 employees to date, the Finnish startup is a gnat compared to the German software behemoth's 2014 $8.3bn Concur acquisition or its €8bn buy of Qualtrics in 2018.

Yet it offers another glimpse of SAP's approach as it forges ahead with its let's-get-all-customers-on-the-cloud strategy, seen as crucial in turning the company around from last year's disappointing results.

With the latest purchase, SAP promises to help customers and partners adapt their IT systems more efficiently. As part of SAP Business Technology Platform, AppGyver would broaden the company's portfolio in business process intelligence.

But it has to strike a balance. SAP already has low-code capabilities provided by partner Mendix, part of Siemens. AppGyver would be a "complementary addition" to that technology, SAP said.

SAP also has its own low-code Ruum product, more geared towards workflow, but nonetheless promising to allow business users with "no coding skills to create departmental processes in hours instead of days and weeks".

Research firm Megabuyte said the AppGyver acquisition was an interesting extension to SAP's strategy to bring the company more in line with "new world vendors".

SAP has also bought Signavio in an effort to get customers to use its technology to analyse their business processes before and during the jump to the firm's flagship ERP platform S/4HANA and the cloud, rather than alternatives from Celonis, which also has a close relationship with Siemens.

"We expect SAP will continue to acquire small players that bolster its intelligent business operations capabilities as it accelerates the push towards cloud," Megabuyte said.

Low-code puts power in the hands of business users to make an almighty mess behind the scenes before IT professionals come and clear it up.

SAP probably knows this and would rather professional developers and architects built processes directly into its platform. Nonetheless, it might stop revenue from leaking to competing low-code platforms such as Betty Blocks or Appian.

It might also provide a sticking plaster to one of SAP's weaknesses – that business users often want to pick their own niche tools for their specific requirements and don't want to be tied into ERP overhauls. AppGyver may be an effort to throw them a bone in saying: "Look, you can build your own apps on the new platform (provided you can wait long enough for the implementation)."

Like SAP's Industry Cloud, it is an effort to appear more modern from a company often seen as an old-world application provider, particularly in the US.

The early signs are encouraging for SAP. A joint survey between the American SAP User Group and security platform vendor Onapsis found that 57 per cent of user organisations are in the process of completing or planning SAP S/4HANA migrations. Of course, there can be a big gap between planning and executing. SAP is clearly in the mood to do every little bit it can to convince them to take the plunge.

In other news, Rohit Nagarajan is to succeed Brian Duffy as president for SAP in EMEA North. Duffy has been appointed president of Cloud for SAP. Nagarajan was COO for EMEA North before his promotion. ®

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