Thursday, February 11, 2010

John Schwarz was never going to be CEO of SAP

If you are interested in business intelligence or follow the doings of SAP, you probably already know that the former BOBJ CEO John Schwarz has left the company. The temptation is to delve into the details of all the post-takeover events at SAP and try to puzzle out the proximate cause of this move. Then you could do a little Kremlinology, trying to guess what is going on in the minds of various execs.

But I prefer to stick to a few general observations.
  • When business intelligence companies get taken over, the senior management almost always leaves after a few years.
  • There has been some discussion that Schwarz was shooting for the CEO job, but that hardly seems likely to me. Remember SAP had about ten times the revenues of BOBJ. Also, as SAP has learned the hard way, selling business intelligence software is a very different business than selling ERP.
  • The main thing that keeps an executive of the acquired company on board is a clause in the contract. As soon as the clause expires, the executive jumps ship.
That's about it, really.

OK, like Oscar Wilde, I can resist anything but temptation. Look at the press release. Schwarz says "I strongly believe that SAP BusinessObjects will play a vital role in SAP's future success" and that he is "confident about the future direction of the company". It's hardly a ringing endorsement of SAP's ERP business, is it?