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SAP TechEd 2006: The New Services Platform

The message from this morning’s keynote is: mySAP ERP 2005 is your new platform for business services. The nuances all revolve around dichotomies:

  • mySAP ERP 2005 will be a stable platform for the next five years. But, the enhancement packages will give you innovation on demand.
  • xApps will be a hub for application re-use, packaging the commoditized software. But, you need a team of innovative disruptors to create your secret sauce.

To answer Scott’s question, then, the talk is very much of “going mashup for developers.” The good still need inspection of course.

“Assume a sphere cow”

One of the more interesting aspects is what I’m increasingly thinking of as the spherical cow model of software adoption: changing the organization to align with what the software provides. In the SAP vision, not only does the CIO split into the two roles of Chief Process Innovator Officer and Chief IT Officer, but developers are split into a handful of new roles:

  • Consolidators – the roaming pack of developers who fit everything together.
  • Repository Keepers – the keepers of modeling and semantics.
  • Composers – the mashup-works.
  • Disruptive Innovators – the coders who write the secret sauce.

The point is not that this model is prone for failure, just that it requires more than just delivering the software. From what I’ve gleamed so far, SAP is (wanting?) to use community in the largest sense of the word as a large part of that additional transformation. There are many nuances of open source and blogger/Cluetrain mechanics at play.

The Bloggers Corner

As the notes from SAPPHIRE indicated, being in the Bloggers Corner is a lot more fun than being in the analyst bucket. It’s always fun meeting people in person, and there’s plenty of blogger dorking-out to be had.

There’s interesting discussion about the division of blogger between analyst between press. As always, anyone who blogs enjoys the navel-gazing. I have the weird position of being both. As I was telling the rest of the corner, I was lucky to get hired into RedMonk at the right time: yuh!

More interestingly, as many have noted in the past, is the prominence of the blog concept here. During the Exec Q&A, Bill Wohl (the host) called out the bloggers, welcoming and acknowledging them multiple times.

In summary, this is definitely he first time I’ve come to a conference and felt like a blogger who’s an analyst instead of an analyst who blogs.

And, as with any timing arbitrage, the bloggers are all abuzz with exciting ways to capitalize on the chance ;>


Here are my maps from the Shai Agassi’s keynote this morning and the follow-up Q&A:

Disclaimer: SAP is paying for my stay here.

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Categories: Conferences, Enterprise Software.

Comment Feed

5 Responses

  1. you say…'changing the organization to align with what the software provides.'

    That sounds an aweful lot like ERP 1993 don't you think and look how much good that did?

  2. And they say "those people" just throw softballs ;>
    But, yes, unless SAP has some secret process sauce I've yet to get on my toast, the sphere cow problem will strike as it always does.
    Once I've gotten back in Austin and sat down a spell to guzzle-down all the water from the SAP fire-hose, I'll be much more definitive in my statements rather than just using silly jokes as a crutch.

  3. Cote and Dennis
    I'm big on standard software, and on innovation too. the really innovative companies do two things.
    1. innovate where it matters.
    2. Standardise where it doesnt.

    This is why Procter and Gamble have pretty damn close to vanilla SAP implementation, it runs just about the whole business. Colgate is the same.

    ERP 93 rocks Dennis.

  4. Thomas: I've been reading through Enterprise SOA, so, to use that book's terms, "core vs context," right?

Continuing the Discussion

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