SAP parts ways with cloud sales chief in strategy shift

A leaner sales organization structure could end up being good for customers, analyst says

SAP cloud software sales chief Shawn Price is leaving the company in the latest high-profile executive departure at the company in recent days.

Price's responsibilities will be divided up among a number of executives who will report to global sales head Rob Enslin, a move that reflects SAP's business strategy, according to a spokesman. This means there will no longer be a division between sales of SAP's on-premises software and its cloud products.

SAP has 36 million cloud users "and well over a $1 billion USD annual cloud run rate," spokesman Jim Dever said in a statement. "As such, the cloud is no longer something separate, it is the core engine of our business."

Price's decision to leave SAP was his own, Dever said. He had only held the spot since January, replacing Bob Calderoni.

The move should be seen as a good sign for SAP customers, said Holger Mueller, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research.

"This shows that SAP is serious about becoming a cloud company," Mueller said. "There is no need for a speciality cloud sales department. Unfortunately, the victim of that move is a successful manager like Price, who has done a lot at keeping SAP in a good position."

"But for customers, ultimately this is a win, as short and faster sales reporting lines increase visibility and accelerate sales cycles," Mueller added.

Price's exit comes just days after the sudden departure of Vishal Sikka, who headed up all product development at SAP and was the champion of Hana, the in-memory computing platform around which SAP is basing its entire strategy going forward.

SAP announced a number of other executive changes on Wednesday as well. SAP Americas president Rodolpho Cardenuto will head up a newly created global partner operations organization. The Americas division will be split in two, with Jennifer Morgan named president of SAP North America and Diego Dzodan tapped to lead SAP Latin America and Caribbean.

All the changes come just a few weeks before SAP's massive annual Sapphire conference in Orlando, and likely reflect efforts by soon-to-be sole CEO Bill McDermott to put an initial stamp on his tenure.

Co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe is stepping down this month and will take a seat on SAP's Supervisory Board.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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