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Traveling Asia

I have been asked for a reason as to why [original link is broken] [original link is broken] [original link is broken] [original link is broken] [original link is broken] [original link is broken] remained empty for the last weeks. The official reason is that I am recovering from a trip across Asia which took me to Bangalore, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo and Shanghai. 45 flight hours in 7 days. Even with the special VIP treatment which I got in those locations (thank you all for trying to protect me) it was one of the most grueling trips I had in my life. The good news was that I felt like it was well worth the trip by the time I came back.

I had the pleasure of meeting the SAP Labs teams in India and China . I got to see the level of excitement in their eyes and spread the word about our value system, strategy and internal organization for success. I also had a great opportunity to spread the gospel, talking in front of a few broad groups, partners and customers, all excited about ESA’s potential and going through various stages of implementations of our products and the NetWeaver platform. We had the first NetWeaver conference in Beijing , drawing more than 1,500 people, and a similar number in Bangalore showed up to our technology forum. Finally in Tokyo, we had our annual Sapphire gathering that drew close to 14,000 people.

I observed some interesting themes that are present in every one of the locations we visited:

  • There is huge lack of resources who are ready for the next wave , understanding both business process models and technology platform and architecture. The people come from one or another discipline (I call them left-brained or right-brained), but very few have combined deep understanding of how the two disciplines combine to create the new fabric for the enterprise.

  • There are new business models emerging in Asia that will change the way business is done around the world. Those come from changing the assumptions that had permeated the developed world through industry roles and segmentation built over years. It seems like a tremendous change is coming from specialization (companies focused on a very narrow aspect of the value chain and scaling extremely quick), as well as integration (companies that combine new end-to-end business models that span multiple companies, sometimes multiple industries).

  • Competition has scaled beyond fierce at this point, where the only ability to survive is to innovate, cut-costs and scale all — at the same time. While we all think of India and China as competing against the west, it seems like more and more the competition is focused inside Asia with Chinese and Indian firms out-thinking one another.

Another reflection that I can make at the end of this trip is that you cannot understand the region remotely and you have to be present locally to understand the immense opportunity it represents. SAP has tremendous opportunities in India and China, as more companies go “glocal” – they need local support but they span globally. Addressing networks made of mySAP Business Suite customers who are building retail network rivaling Wal-Mart in their sophistication, all the way down to small businesses that run on SAP Business One .

The common question I got around this trip was — “How do I shape the new IT organization to match the needs of this new generation of service orientation?” It seems like Asia is ready to make a leap from legacy to ESA, and they will not look back or make half steps. So, with that in mind, considering the fact that I kept reading the raging argument over out-tasking and the role of IT regarding The Fight for Relevancy (or the Common Enemy) , I decided to create a blog series on my recommendation for ESA readiness. I’ve used the following slide a few times:


I will try to detail the thinking behind it, and start a positive dialog on how to build up an agile IT organization with the right IT landscape that can last till 2020.

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  • To address the issue of the bemoaned shallow resource pool that understands both platform technology and business processes, I would invite bloggers of SDN to explicitly outline the business challenges they are addressing with ESA and NetWeaver technology, and to invite your left or right brained team colleagues to validate and contribute too!..a true collaborative effort!  Soon, a real brain meld could happen!
      • Working with 2 customers still struggling with real life CUA – EP – ldap integration problems, I think the road ahead is clearly paved. Speed up decision-making when it comes to core processes, lower TCO and enable service-oriented thinking in adaptive networks.
        It was about time that somebody comes up with the idea of bridging this gap. The idea to push the message out to the folks on how to build these, rather seems to be a “no-brainer”. Let’s pool the multitude of visions.
  • Hi Shai,

    I have a little netweaver question
    On one of your presentations:

    You mention 2 books:

    1. 1500 netweaver customer references
    2. netweaver “silver book”

    can you tell me if they are available on the market?
    I’d like to read them to show our clients who has
    implemented netweaver components but I cannot
    find this book neither in stores (amazon) nor google…

    If you could give me some more info I’d be very grateful 

    Kind Regards,
    Michal Krawczyk

  • Shai~

    Im glad that you finally take on addreessing this as an issue. Yes, the myopic half-brained approach is a world-wide phenomenon, note merely restricted to one part of the world.

    Thank you and best regards

    Kartik Iyengar~

  • Dear Shai,
    Its nice to see that you have identified “Being Local” as an issue to be addressed, I must include some of my personal experinces as being from Asian region, lesser concentration has been given to the localization of SAP for the countries that may not have alot of SAP professionals but have great potentials, e.g. being located in Saudi Arabia we are daily facing many local issues that SAP does not take care as standard and we have to use work arrounds and a the moment huge implementaions are undergoing in Saudi Arabia, similarly being originally from Pakistan I do not see that SAP gives much concentration on development of SAP market in Paksitan and other developing countries where potential and Human resources are in abundance…so in my opinion considering only India and China as Asia in terms of Population may be justified but considering it as the SAP market is definetly not justified…Please comment,