Super-Quick: Update on Siemens + SAP Teamcenter

Jul 28, 2020 | Hot Topics

We’re starting to get answers to some of the open questions about the partnership SAP and Siemens announced earlier this month, regarding the integration of Siemens’ Teamcenter and SAP’s S4/Hana. Many questions aren’t answerable yet; it’s just too early. We don’t know yet what a second wave of integrations or new products might be, we don’t know pricing, we don’t know exactly how this will all be operationalized … But here’s what I can add to last week’s blog post, based on answers from Siemens:

Is this exclusive or could Siemens come to a similar arrangement with an Oracle, for example?
Not exclusive. According to Noah Cole. Director, Global Communications, Siemens Digital Industries Software, “This is not an exclusive partnership. Siemens will continue to invest in our open ecosystem and to evaluate other partnerships, with a focus on always doing what is best for our customers.”

Will anything resulting from this partnership be usable in other contexts —say with Oracle’s configuration or supply chain tools? Or Bentley’s APM?
Mr. Cole: “The focus at this time is on joint roadmaps and integration capabilities specific to the SAP/Siemens portfolios and work to date has been to integrate the best of Teamcenter with the best of S4/SAP Hana – so we don’t anticipate any immediate impact to other integrations on either side.”

My view: That makes sense — but I do wonder what will happen eventually. Both PLM and ERP solutions are ingrained into the fabric of their users’ enterprises — prying out Oracle or another ERP to install SAP because it’s integrated with Teamcenter is a tough sell. We’ll have to see how this goes.

There’s some weirdness about who sells what in the Bentley partnership; how will this be clearer here? If there’s a joint product, for example, how will a prospect know whom to contact?
Mr. Cole: “Unlike with Bentley, the Siemens and SAP partnership is structured is similar to a channel partner agreement with solutions available from other companies. SAP and Siemens’ sales teams will continue to sell to its existing and to new customers. When there is overlap or questions, special situations will be addressed by a Sales Support House composed of representatives from Siemens and SAP.”

My take: That’s far cleaner. I think Bentley and Siemens are figuring it out, and perhaps Siemens learned from that earlier confusion. The last thing anyone wants is a customer who’s interested but can’t figure out whom to engage with!

Finally, how many joint [SAP+Siemens] teams there are right now?
On last week’s call, the SAP and Siemens speakers said it was 5 to 10, which seems like a pretty big spread. Mr.Cole said there are “7 joint teams actively collaborating (a few others worked together on other tasks around the deal and have concluded those areas).” So, yes, this is real and it is happening.

One of the biggest questions for me remains how/if/when SAP will transition customers from its own PLM to Teamcenter. Yesterday we heard a bit more about that from SAP CEO Christian Klein, who highlighted the importance of the relationship with Siemens during the company’s call with investors about Q2 results (solid). He told investors SAP’s own PLM had struggled:

“When we are talking about new growth initiatives [like] Industry 4.0 — that’s digitizing a factory for predictive maintenance — you need data from ERP, from the supply chain. And this is what we are now delivering. You heard our news with Siemens. We are not giving up a huge existing market of SAP [by encouraging customers to move to Teamcenter]. It’s not like we invested a lot of dollars in the last years in PLM. Now we are giving our customers a clear road map. We will now bundle our supply chain [and] ERP solutions with Siemens [Teamcenter] to really make the integration work. Actually, I expect that this can accelerate the sales of our supply chain and ERP solutions.

So. No pressure on the R&D, marketing and sales teams to make this work.