Record-Breaking Attendance at the 2019 DSAG Annual Congress

Many companies not yet ready to embrace digitalization

Nuremburg/Walldorf, 09/17/2019 -

The level of digital transformation in DSAG member companies is lagging behind the expectations of last year. Obstacles identified in a survey by Deutschsprachige SAP-Anwendergruppe e.V. (DSAG) include internal organizational challenges, as well as specific barriers within SAP solutions. There is much work to be done regarding the integration of systems, compatible application data models, and flexible and scalable licensing models.

What progress have SAP user companies made toward the digital transformation? A survey of DSAG members carried out in summer 2019* has revealed that boosting the efficiency of existing operational processes (62%) and developing new business models (40%) are among the biggest drivers of digitalization projects. Meanwhile, changes in market conditions, closer relationships with clients and partners, improved service, and the desire for greater information transparency exert less pressure to go digital.

Meeting the need for increased efficiency, DSAG members are implementing projects to digitalize their processes. Forty-one percent of companies have either completed or are in the process of completing efficiency projects. This is an encouraging number. However, the survey also revealed that companies have many ideas and create proofs-of-concept and prototypes, but then fail to implement these projects successfully. “Almost half of all ideas for digitalization projects come to nothing, both for organizational and technical reasons,” explains Chairman of the DSAG Board Marco Lenck. DSAG surveyed its members to find out what obstacles cause these projects to fail.

Obstacles on the path to digitalization

The biggest challenges include a lack of staff and financial resources (42%) and an under-developed digital corporate culture (38%). Other obstacles cited by respondents include staff’s resistance to change and rigid organizational structures. Lesser hurdles include a lack of support from management (12%) and a lack of expertise (11%).

What role can SAP play in digitalization?

Alongside cultural and staff challenges, member companies are faced with informational, technical, and functional hurdles that are hampering their digital transformation efforts, such as developing hybrid environments. SAP strategies and roadmaps must be plannable and resilient. Only 25% of DSAG members feel well-informed by SAP. Forty-five percent partly trust their product strategy, while 30% of users have no confidence in it. This is a strong signal to SAP that it must provide its customers with forward-looking, reliable information.

As for the SAP solutions portfolio, there are also concrete tasks that SAP needs to do better in order to provide adequate solutions for digitalization. These include

  • better integration,
  • uniform master data,
  • enhanced, stable functionality, and
  • scalable solutions and licensing models.

“As companies are increasingly turning to hybrid environments as part of digitalization, SAP needs to make its design, development, and operation, including its licensing models, as simple, flexible, and appealing as possible. Otherwise, projects will stall again,” warns Marco Lenck.

SAP is already tackling some issues, such as harmonizing master data. “The speed at which key issues are being dealt with needs to keep step with companies’ requirements,” adds Marco Lenck.

The firm has already met with some success here. An important issue has now been addressed. After intensive discussions, from 2022 onwards, customers will be able to use the SAP Human Capital Management solution (SAP HCM) also integrated in S/4HANA. This is sure to particularly please those SAP customers who cannot or do not want to switch to SuccessFactors in the Cloud in around 2025.

Assessment of SAP products for digitalization projects

As part of the survey, CIOs and other representatives of DSAG member companies were also asked about their use of S/4HANA compared to the Business Suite. S/4HANA is increasingly seen as a foundation for digital transformation. Over the next three years, many companies have plans to implement migration projects. However, as before, only very few companies have announced completion of an S/4HANA project. Still, the solution has attracted considerable interest.

The picture looks a little different for SAP’s solutions for the digitalization of customer processes, like C/4HANA and Qualtrics. Although they are used by the member companies, they are not as well-represented as their competitors. For C/4HANA, everything rests on whether or not SAP delivers the benefits of integration and harmonization. “In order to ensure that new SAP products are accepted and used by DSAG members, they need a functional integration. If this is the case, SAP will be better positioned to exploit its added value as a provider of hybrid solutions,” states Marco Lenck. It goes without saying that DSAG members also want to see flexible scalability and comparable functionality to that offered by third-party products. Here, too, DSAG and SAP are in talks.

DSAG: a perfect partner

Not least because of these successes, DSAG is poised as a strategic partner. Almost 70% of those surveyed are satisfied with the user association. This places DSAG ahead of SAP partners (58%) and far beyond SAP itself (37%). For Marco Lenck, this confirms the association’s charted course: “We are the strategic partner SAP customers can rely on during digital transformation. We give direction and ensure the right information is always available.” According to DSAG members, the software manufacturer still has some catching up to do – which should prompt SAP to offer users targeted, reliable information and suitable products in the future. DSAG stands ready, a motivated sparring partner keen to jointly support user companies and produce successful mass digitalization projects.

*Basis of the survey
In the summer, DSAG carried out an online survey of SAP user companies in German-speaking countries. The survey targeted CIOs and the representatives of DSAG member companies in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Over half of the respondents represented a firm with between 500 and 5,000 employees. Almost one-third represented companies with over 5,000 employees. 271 CIOs and representatives of DSAG member companies took part in the survey. Only one respondent was surveyed per company.

2019 DSAG Annual Congress
Around 5,500 delegates will attend Deutschsprachige SAP-Anwendergruppe e.V. (DSAG)’s three-day event at the Nuremburg Exhibition Center from September 17 to 19. This year’s theme is “And Action! Making Digitalization Stick.” Eight keynotes, over 300 presentations, and 175 partners on an exhibition area of approx. 15,000 square meters will set the stage for the largest and most prestigious user meeting in Europe. The event celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

About DSAG

The German-speaking SAP User Group (Deutschsprachige SAP-Anwendergruppe e. V., DSAG) is one of the most influential SAP user groups in the world. Its strong network comprises more than 60,000 members from over 3,500 companies, ranging from medium-sized businesses to DAX corporations, and representing all industries in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. This gives the group unparalleled insights into the digital challenges facing companies in these markets. DSAG uses this knowledge to represent the interests of SAP users and to support members on their paths to digitalization. Further information is available at:,,


Die Deutschsprachige SAP-Anwendergruppe e. V. (DSAG) ist einer der einflussreichsten Anwenderverbände der Welt. Mehr als 60.000 Mitglieder aus über 3.500 Unternehmen bilden ein starkes Netzwerk, das sich vom Mittelstand bis zum DAX-Konzern und über alle wirtschaftlichen Branchen in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz (DACH) erstreckt. Auf Basis dieser Reichweite gewinnt der Industrieverband fundierte Einblicke in die digitalen Herausforderungen im DACH-Markt. Die DSAG nutzt diesen Wissensvorsprung, um die Interessen der SAP-Anwender zu vertreten und ihren Mitgliedern den Weg in die Digitalisierung zu ebnen. Weitere Informationen finden Sie unter:,,