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As the premier developer of ERP software, SAP has provided the means for public and private entities to amass volumes of data bearing on interesting questions, e.g. whether any curvilinear relationship exists between cost and usage of piece parts (between the obvious extrema.) What are SAP’s rights and responsibilities with respect to such data? 1. Rights. Suppose, for the sake of discussion, that in the SAP license agreements with its ERP clients, SAP were given the right to run certain numerical analysis programs on the clients’ tables which store data on cost and usage of piece parts. (I’m obviously not talking here about programs which would compromise the integrity and security of client data – I’m talking about programs which would analyze client data in order to generate certain empirical numerical indices involving the relationships between cost and usage across various types of supply-chain operations.) 2. Responsibilities. Suppose, moreover, that examination of these cost/usage indices revealed that they were related to standard profitability/efficiency indices in previously unnoticed and surprising ways. From a “socially-conscious” perspective, would it not be incumbent on SAP to share its new-found insights with the ERP community at large? And from a “selfish” perspective, would it not to be incumbent on SAP to share these insights with the ERP community, simply because any customer who used these insights to increase profitability would have more money to spend on SAP’s new line of Enterprise SOA software? 3. The Reason I’m Asking. Being pure of heart, I have no “selfish” motives for asking these questions, but only “socially-conscious” motives. I’ll explain these in a later post, but right now I’m more interested in getting any feedback on these two general questions which SDN/BPXers might be interested in offering.

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  1. Mark Finnern
    Hi David,

    I think there is a great potential in doing benchmarking on actual data, aggregated and stripped off the company identification.

    To go beyond that and doing analysis on that data to find additional correlations would be revolutionary.

    Or so I think, Mark. 

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    1. David Halitsky
      But –

      if my suspicion is correct – namely that complex supply-chain networks created by people (e.g. networks of manufacturing corporations) must share certain properties with complex supply-chain networks created by evolution (e.g. our own bodies), then the results will not appear “revolutionary” once they are announced.

      People will merely say – as they always do – “Of course.  How could it be any other way?”

      Best regards
      djh

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  2. Dirk Herzog
    I think your idea is a nice dream but not much more. Not because it would be hard to do this kind of analysis (SAP does a lot of measuring table sizes etc.) but you wouldn’t be able to compare these results. Why? Simply because you would mangle aircraft builders with paper mills, consulting companies with telco service providers, etc. Chances are that any key figure you’d like to measure varies so much across the different types of companies that you have a hard time sorting out these figures.
    Or as one of our slogans says:
    The day you can pour milk out of a brick is the day we make one kind of software (it differed a bit but was something along these lines).

    And the other question is: Why should SAP analyze this kind of data? There are lots of consulting companies out there who specialize in collecting these kinds of data and they are much better suited to create comparable results than doing a full table scan on thousands of systems.

    Best regards
    Dirk

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    1. David Halitsky
      But SAP is uniquely positioned to develop an efficient business model for accomplishing the objective.

      As far as your second point – about amalgamating apples and oranges, I’m not sure that’s a “gimme” a priori.

      I am thinking about some curves relating cost and usage that would be so basic that they would hold across any industry separately or all industries anlayzed together.

      Anyway, thanks very much for taking the time to reply.

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      1. Dirk Herzog
        Maybe when SaaS is widely accepted you could get a data basis for these kinds of analysis. But I’ve seen too many companies creating too many ideas of how to handle certain reporting requirements to believe in a success. E.g. did you know that there was a phone company some years ago that wanted to create a cost center for each phone booth? Or that there was a company that had more cost centers that employees in most of its foreign subsidiaries?
        So I think that there needs to be a common understanding of the business model to compare the results. SaaS could provide this, A1S probably too.

        I’d like to take this chance to say thanks for providing these fantastic blogs that give the people something to think about.

        Dirk

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