Kind of struggling to work out the key narratives from Sapphire this year. Well other than the fact that SAP really doesn’t like not having nerds in charge. Leo Apotheker was SAP’s first ever CEO without a development background… he lasted less than a year before getting nuked by Chairman Hasso Plattner.
The geeks are definitely and defiantly back. As I said yesterday on twitter:
I think it goes further than that. [CTO] Vishal Sikka is newly minted as hasso’s rep – the strong voice of SAP geekery
Sikka is clearly Chairman Hasso Plattner’s voice on the ground and he took an active role in the press conference that kicked the event off- he didn’t wait to be asked to answer a question – if he had something to say he jumped right up and said it. Sikka is not the voice of the customer, he is the voice of the technologist, and strong technology has always been the basis of SAP’s success.
The key technology we’re going to hear a lot more about is In Memory database – the price of RAM has cratered and servers are now packing absurd amounts of memory. Memory is the new disk, etc, which creates new opportunities for real time data analysis across huge datasets.
I won’t be here for Plattner and Sikka’s dorky keynote tomorrow, but I will certainly be watching the replay with interest. What I want to know is whether SAP is paying attention to the outside world, and the NoSQL and Hadoop/Mapreduce worlds. SAP tends to have a Not Invented Here culture, which frankly makes no sense in the age of Enterprise/Web company co-innovation. Buying Sybase certainly won’t be enough to win in the Big Data era. You can’t compete against open source and the Web. With $5.8bn SAP could have bought everyone in NoSQL a hundred times over and gone balls out with an Oracle offload play. But the street wanted to see big deals, so a big deal they got.
disclosure: Cloudera is a customer. SAP is a customer.