Well, I am crossing the Atlantic again, so as I promised I will add another entry to my blog. I was surprised by the small number of postings in response to my SAP NetWeaver Update – October 2004, although some of you decided to respond directly to my inbox (Answers: Yes, I did write my blog myself; and no help from Marketing)
The last few weeks I had the pleasure of mostly meeting and working with customers in various forums. There is a significant increase in awareness to NetWeaver (I guess someone must have actually read the NW4Dummies books after all). We see it in independent surveys which indicate a 3x growth in awareness, but also in non-scientific measurements ( Laurie Nolan’s ASUG – NW 101 class attracted 4x the number of people this year than last year). Speaking of ASUG, a couple of weeks ago they had the ASUG Technology Forum group meeting in Dallas and more than 900 members showed up – congratulations to all of the ASUG Technology Forum Customer Volunteers for such a great showing. We are internally working very diligently on classes and eLearning to support all the people who are seeking knowledge around NetWeaver and next year will be a great year of training and certifications around the platform.
Most customer conversations revolve around questions of timing “When should I upgrade to mySAP ERP, and when should I deploy NetWeaver?”. It is good to see that so many have figured out that we will innovate so much on the NetWeaver platform and that ERP is their future that the question is just one of when to jump in. My answer has to change to reflect their situation: Regardless of the software acquisition strategy (The later you upgrade, the more you will pay, and you will only enjoy the benefits later – so don’t wait), the decision needs to be driven from a business perspective and anchored in real benefits. We have been helping customers recently understand the value drivers and translate them into specific focused projects. The wonderful value engineering group in our field has been doing such a thorough job, some of their cases should be published as roadmaps for others to be inspired by (if you have not had a VE engagement ask your field for an example of their work).
Some scenarios are starting to show up multiple times and are obvious candidates to pick up – Supplier enablement, Proactive Report dissemination, Global brand management are some I like the most.
Supplier enablement deals with the connectivity between the organization and its most strategic suppliers removing friction, in the form of manual data entry, errors and breakage and enabling transparency which helps both trading partners reduce inventories and increase profitability. Some companies do it on their own, using NetWeaver and ERP, while others add NetWeaver to some of our products like SCM with ICH and SRM. Better supplier enablement translates to bottom line savings that bring the ROI so quickly that some of these projects literally pay for themselves in months.
Proactive Report Dissemination opens up the data in the organization to new user groups that need timely information but do not want to go hunting for it. Through a lot of cross stack integration available in NW’04 we created the closest experience to one-button report distribution available. We see many customers picking up on this capability and leveraging their portal and BW investments. By next year, with Euclid’s performance gains I expect to see massive amounts of personalized reports calculated over night and distributed across the organization, changing the data consumption model from pull to push.
Finally, Global Brands are starting to figure out how to maintain consistency of brand across multiple geographic areas and diverging markets. The need to leverage successful campaigns across multiple geographies creates a need for a distributed knowledge system, shared catalogs of content and processes that can be followed on-line. The effort is to predict and repeat success from one market to another.
If you have an interesting breakthrough project you believe can be used by others, write to me, I will try to publish some of the most interesting ones here on SDN.