This last weekend the amount of parked horses, cigarette butts and horse poop outside SAP Labs LLC passed every legal limit in California. Noises of occasional gunshots and somebody falling death into the desert sand of Palo Alto Snake Canyon broke through the otherwise silent prairie.
The loudest sound you normally hear in the Silicon Valley is the buzz of the thousands of computer processor coolers in the Garage startups or the counting of the billions of venture capital money thrown at soon-to-rule-the-internet companies. But that past weekend, 42 of the meanest SAP developers and 6 UI designers flocked tgether, split into gangs of 8, saddled their horses and spent Saturday and Sunday sweating over their laptops to churn out real cool stuff.
Under the overall theme “Simplicity” – What do you need in the Wild West? A horse, a pistol and a sunset to ride into – top SAP developers and designers made that reality.
Stop, stop, hold your gun: SAP & Simplicity? How does this go together? Tar and feather the impostor telling us that this is possible.
Well, I tell you: It is possible. Over 48 hours without sleep, the 6 gangs just did, what the simplicity bandits at SAP tend to “featurize”. But we had the Simplicity Sheriff Aliza Peleg, in her more mundane life the general manager of SAP Labs, who took care of the simplicity bandits.
At High Noon this Monday, the SAP Labs saloon (aka cafeteria) was crammed full with people, hoping to get a glance at the fierce duels. And they were not disappointed. Once the dust settled, the teams had their laptops oiled, their mice saddled and on they went.
Team 1 – K.I.S.S.
The Keep it simple SAP gang (a.k.a. K.I.S.S.) jumped behind the forms and kept attacking the insane retyping of information over and over again for the same information. With their ReForm they automatically populated all UI-fields, independent of the transaction or the website.
Team 2 – The Magnificent 8
Cowboys and cowgirls know that they need. Riding long days through the wild west, encountering adventures with nature (taxi drivers, flight attendants, customers), law enforcement agents (customs officers, park sheriffs) or bartenders, there is no joy in filling out the expense report. Those Magnificent 8 just tied online credit card statements, flight confirmation and expense system into one application.
Team 3 – The Simpletons
Cowboys would have never conquered the west and the Silicon Valley, if they had known that we will give them the most complicated tools that a human brain can think of. That’s why the Simpleton gang brought it back to the roots. They exchanged their guns with iPod menus, game console controllers and Nintendo Wii Virtual Console to browse through a presentation and dataware house report. It looked like too much fun to do work. Therefore the local judges tared and feathered them.
Team 4 – SWAT7D
Snow White and the 7 dwarfs (SWAT7D) showed what a modern day head hunter does to get information. An RSS Feed that tapped the Universal Work List (which made the UWL frontend gang rampage – but that’s another story) and allowed to search and filter multiple RSS Feeds for only those news that you are interested in.
Team 5 – The Abracadabras
Their motto was “Don’t be stuck with SAP, stick to it”. Wiping of the feathers, they showed how sticky notes are tared to single transaction or website screens. Pop up time recording in SAP and all your corresponding sticky notes open up. Open your favorite shopping website and only those sticky notes with the actual promotion codes pop up. And you can also collaborate – in the old west we called that telegraph.
Team 6 – Mission Simplicity
What would be the wild west and the tough cowboys without cowgirls? That’s why the Mission Simplicity gang mashed up the virtual 3D community Second Life with an SAP backend and opened a store with products coming from SAP ERP. Their female cowgirl avatar just needed to hug the product and it was bought. It’s as easy as riding into a sunset and taking the bag of gold coins for the first prize.
I also want to thank Michael Hörisch, who assisted me during the taping (rolling me sitting on the chair, bringing the water bottles, catching fly away hats ), Geoff Kerr, who provided cowboy hats, chaps and boots, and of course the great developers and designers that I was allowed to abuse for a Spaghetti-Western.