James Governor's Monkchips

SAP has a virus

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which will continue to spread and infect the company. Its called opening up. Lowering the barriers to participation. Shai left. So what? Life goes on. Don’t confuse the man with the times, the man with the platform, the man with the company. The real talent at SAP is in the grassroots and the community. I saw Shai hectoring a customer audience a few months back, for not upgrading at a pace to suit him. It wasn’t a good look. A man in a hurry, when SAP’s core customers tend to move at a more measured pace. Shai did some great things but there are plenty of other talented executives out there.


  1. he was in a hurry because he pinned SAP’s success to SOA and NetWeaver and the transition of 35000+ customers looked like a 10 year effort. You cannot call something an innovation when customer adoption is so slow.

    SAP is an apps company. It needs to continue to deliver vertical process level innovation. Somehow, I think it has forgotten that in its talk about plaforms and architectures.

    Having said that Shai did help’s SAP globalization process – both in recruiting and in marketing …

  2. that’s my point vinnie. you added some numbers, thanks. its not about whether or not we call something innovation though, to my mind. i think the pressure was building on him to deliver the change. SAP will continue to double down on verticality -no question.

  3. It doesn’t matter where the talent is if the leadership doesn’t provide appropriate direction for the times and market.

    It’s a bit like saying Apple doesn’t need Jobs or that GE didn’t need Neutron Jack. They sure as heck did and do.

    The concern has to be that SAP returns to its cloistered ways.

  4. With all due respect Dennis, comparing Shai’s influence on SAP to Jobs’ on Apple is a bit ludicrous. Jobs was Apple’s founder, drives product and marketing innovation, and is revered by an industry. Shai will be missed of course but Hasso was clear that SAP will continue in the direction its been headed.

    Like James, I think many have over-stated the significance of the event.

  5. The work of opening up, planting a flag in Silicon Valley etc. was begun by Hasso. A lot of what you guys are attributing to Shai was initiated by Hasso. Hasso can “create” a Shai in a microsecond, and he should. There are several dozen 30-something mid-level execs/entrepreneurs with at least as much charisma as Shai available in the Silicon Valley. All he needs to do is test one such person and put her on the SAP Executive Board and there will be no loss of momentum.

    As Vinnie suggests, this person should have solid enterprise apps credentials. That way, SAP doesn’t waste money in fruitless middleware adventures.

  6. @samir if you read the post its pretty clear I am saying Shai is not ultimately responsible for SAP opening up, fwiw.

    @Jonathan well said.

  7. James.
    You nailed it.
    Shai will be missed, sure.
    Samir underestimates his impact.
    Charles’ post is definitely worth a read. http://yetanothersoftwareblog.blogspot.com/2007/03/end-of-era.html

    But Dennis to suggest that we SAPPers will suddenly cloister up is simply nuts. You of all people should now that.

  8. whoops typo should say know

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