This Week in SAP (#12)

Once again I’ve been scraping the bottom of the SAP News barrel for you this week:

and check out my Twitter produce:

  • se38: “SAP beginnt mit Entlassungen in Palo Alto” (“SAP starts layoffs in Palo Alto”)
  • SpinAct: Folks from SAP layoffs can now sign-up on SpinAct and monetize their knowledge and expertise
  • thorstenster: @Blag What an absolute shame! No more Community Day –> TechEd loses at least 50% of its value. 🙁

This Week in SAP (#7)

After weeks full of SAP quarterly results announcements and the BS7 launch the last seven days were slow. So here are my SAP-related highlights of last week:

  • Jon Reed’s latest contribution on services and skills required for SAP Business Suite 7.
  • Michael Krigsman blogs on ZDNet about last weeks SAP event in NY, during which a blogger interview with Roche CIO Jennifer Allerton was held. A key point for me is Allerton’s view on system integrators and their (according to her) need to reinvent themselves. “The old Accenture model, where you trained [inexperienced] consultants for many months on your dollar, just doesn’t work anymore. The hardest thing is to get the consultants out at the end of the project, because they try and hang around as much as possible. We do use external consultants very successfully, because you can’t have all the skills in-house.
  • Eric Imberling of Panorama Consulting Group with a brief and insightful report on how ERP and CRM deployments can help organisations to weather the economic storm.

This week’s SAP Top picks from the Titterverse:

  • @jamesfarar: “Just done w Lunch gig w Prince Charles at Clarence House. He says: ‘SAP? What is that? I can’t keep up with the acronyms’. Hmmmm”
  • @leeprovoost: @chiprodgers how is SAP going to deal with the fact that lots of companies have now “no travel” policies for cost cutting?

An Entirely Virtual SAP TechEd?

image from Craig Cmehil's Rantings blog

image from Craig Cmehil's Rantings blog

A tweet by Capgemini’s solution architect Lee Provoost today got me thinking about the future and potential of SAP TechEd conferences:

how is SAP going to deal with the fact that lots of companies have now “no travel” policies for cost cutting?

Very aptly Lee pointed to the current economic climate which forced a lot of SAP customers to put a ban on traveling and expenses for conventions such as TechEd. This will be a problem that SAP will have to address when planning and organising the next wave of TechEd conferences taking place later this year and beyond. A while ago Chip Rodgers tweeted about the complications of figuring out the number of potential participants for TechEd given the current economic circumstances (“in this economy, how do we estimate attendance?“). TechEd attendances have been going from strength to strength in recent years, and quite rightly so. On my recent visit to TechEd Berlin in October 2008 I was very impressed with the level of organisation that goes into these events. However (and I sincerely hope otherwise)  2009 and maybe 2010 could be tough years for SAP’s main developer conference. Essentially, this got me thinking of ways out of this and thereby also making a move towards a greener way to cope with traveling as well as a smarter usage of energy.

“The biggest virtual developer convention in the world”

OK, brace yourselves! What if SAP would create an entirely Virtual SAP TechEd conference? Similar to the recent PKOM (Partner Kick-Off Meeting) and also the Business Suite 7 launch, would it not be a fantastic and mindblowing idea to entirely hold a big conference such as SAP TechEd in the virtual space? A combined use of video and microblogging could give an event such as this the feel of true collaboration. Granted, the devil is in the detail here, but there are only a few software companies on the planet that could pull this one off. In my view, SAP is one of them. The benefits and opportunities for such an idea:

  • real savings for customers
  • a truly green event
  • bigger reach to even more developers and BPXers
  • great extension to the current Virtual TechEd format
  • real online collaboration
  • target group for this already used to the web format

Now I can hear some people shouting “Bah Humbug” already, argueing that for example the organisational effort for an event such as this would be phenomenal. Another one: “What about face-to-face meetings, networking and collaboration ?”. Well, maybe, but would not tools such as Twitter (to some degree) prove these critics wrong? There could potentially be small compromises. For example, similar to the break up of SAPphire EMEA into smaller, more regional events, TechEd could go an analogous route by hosting one small main event with speakers/mentors and several satellite venues which would provide web video links to the main event, yet still giving participants a face-to-face option to network and collaborate locally.

Now, I can imagine that clever TechEd people such as Chip Rodgers, Amir Blich, Marylin Pratt or Craig Cmehil (Second Life?) have already been hatching a “Virtual TechEd Masterplan” such as this… or at least I hope they have.

This Week in SAP (#6)

What was hot this week in the SAP arena?

  • on Thursday and Friday I found some more details on Business Suite 7 launch by Jon Reed and Ray Wang. Although I have to damit that I have not digested all of them. Jon Reed’s upcoming post on what impact BS7 will have on skills is going to be an interesting one.
  • during Thursday posts emerged on Twitter that SAP has started to enforce new clauses whereby customers may not be allowed to strike third-party maintenance deals. Frank Scavo and Dennis Howlett stepped in quickly with further (possible) explanations and analysis for this. This could be SAP’s reaction to the fact that the time for “mega software-deals” is over and even more focus needs to be given to service revenue streams.
  • Wednesday morning SAP launched Business Suite 7 in New York. Despite expectations that BS7 would be more SaaS and cloud focused, SAP seemed to get fairly cautious on it, stating that research is still done in this area. SAP intends BS7 to be more about shorter implementation cycles and thus higher ROI. Or quoting Apotheker: “innovation without scary upgrades and sleepless nights. We’re done with that,” – quite a statement ! (also follow ZDNET’s Larry Dignan here). Frank Scavo’s summary is also a worthwhile read. On the whole BS7 debate, I particularly liked Dennis Howlett’s (as always) real-world contribution. There is no running away from the nitty-gritty of system implementation and testing – at least not in the short to medium term – no matter how sophisticated your methods are. Even if SAP can really deliver value with BS7, by the time we have got the facts and ROI results the downturn might already be well over.

my Twitter picks:

  • @rwang0: “Hearing from SAP customers that there are new clauses that will force customers to commit to no Third Party Maintenance.
  • @boris: “Twitter is like a sauna: we are all in the same space, we show everything, but are not really looking at each other.”
  • @dan_mcweeney: “Enterprise software robustness cannot be compared to these toys you play with.” Leo, referencing iPhones and Clouds.”
  • @dan_mcweeney: “Had banks had IS systems like these SAP customers, we might not be where we are today.” > Leo (Apotheker) during opening remark of BS7 launch in New York
  • @dahowlett: “65% of all chocolate produced in the world use SAP tech” .. gimme a Cadbury’s bar – quick!!”

This Week In SAP (#5)

All the best and interesting from the last 7 days on planet SAP:

  • Good Joshua Greenbaum piece on Kagermann’s curtain as co-CEO and SAP’s staff cutbacks. In terms of the way how it was handled, you would almost think SAP came out of the Q4 results fairly well (open letter to employees and Kagermann not passing the poisoned chalice to Apotheker), but…
  • …then the “Das Kapital” column of  comes along with a more sober and balanced view (Achtung, German! English translation here) on what they call a PR “signal for the moneymarkets”.
  • This week we were all waiting for SAP’s Q4 results: find some news picks here, here and here. Altogether nothing unexpected. SAP announced the job cuts that had been predicted, albeit not revealing which areas of the business will be affected, but likely most of it could be fluctuations (over what time?).
  • post SAP results thoughts: Dennis Howlett draws an interesting comparison between the car industry and a (possibly) saturated top-end ERP market.
  • Jon Reed with a good, digestible summary of SAP’s PKOM (Partner Kick-Off Meeting) event last week. Also touches on the certification debate and the upcoming Business Suite 7.0.
  • EbF conects iPhone with Lotus Notes and SAP solutions with their Ebf.connector. Looks like an additional proprietary middleware server is required through which the iPhone pulls the data. Download available from iTunes App Store in about 2 weeks.

This week’s Twitter Picks:

  • @SAPMentors Blogged about SAP Mentor Highlights 2008
  • @jonerp: “Chase skills over $, challenge over comfort zone, and you’ll have adventures in excellence.”
  • @fkoehn: “a fool with a tool is still a fool”
  • @monkchips: the activity, or lack of it, on SAP ecohub (nothing to do with sustainability) is disappointing. @dahowlett will surely “eviscerate” it

This week in SAP (#4)

What happened in SAP-Land during the last 7 days ?

This week’s Twitter Picks:

  • @vendorprisey: “(programming) languages are like characters in soap operas. You think they were killed in a car crash but then it was all just a dream.”
  • @jonerp: “One major point of SAP PKOM keynotes that struck me: not a time to “weather the storm,” but to innovate. In my words: innovate to survive.
  • @leeprovoost: “Is IBM-SAP’s Alloy what Microsoft-SAP’s Duet should have been?”
  • @oliver: “SAP ERP and Lotus Notes – two of the most beautiful UIs finally join forces to show the world how it’s done.”
  • @yojibee: “The SDN search sometimes drives me nuts” (commenting on search facility on SAP Developer Network site).
  • @ccmehil: “only sometimes – so it is improving – thanks for the feedback 😉” (Craig’s reply to the SDN search tool tweet).