Inside SAP, ’subversive’ forces are at work.
I would not call myself so much a “subversive” force but I have been known to cut a few “political” and “policy” related corners to get things done, true the coupling of these two technologies is the biggest issue and it has implications throughout the Enterprise world in terms of security and trust – much of which we are already seeing come to the fore front when we think about the idea of Widgets for the Enterprise, there will always be the need for “push” so long as there is a question of trust involved. Personally, and that is really what this is – it’s just me being curious, I think we can quickly overcome the trust issue. What is trust anyway it’s the desire to keep your information safe. My question is what information do you have that is so vital not to fall into the wrong hands? If you’ve got something like that you would not be sending it outside of your firewall at all. What I am addressing or at least thinking about here is that data that your users are downloading and emailing off to someone, somewhere. Back in October I throw out a small little drawing about this whole thing. With the thought in mind of being a a “subversive force” and on the edge, let me expand that now to give you the whole picture. Perhaps this is “subversive” thinking… I mean here I am enabling others to do this as well. What is this? We’ll throw an idea out there that hits home with the SMB’s (Small to Midsize Business’) something maybe Vinnie will take notice of, oh and Vinnie I’ve never meet Zoli but I do read his blog. So again maybe this idea is the type of thing Dennis talks about spreading, “kind of cancerous edge rot” I like to think some people listen and there are some cool things out there to take notice of. OK the idea, or the thought. I’m no expert in terms of people flow or process flow but I do have a lot of experience in terms of social and people interaction. Let’s say that you have a person, we’ll call him John and he works for “ABC” now ABC has three suppliers out there they deal with. John pulls down from his SRM and CRM systems and compiles that data together then exports that to Excel so he can then email it to Sally, Jeff and Sarah all of which are different suppliers well to do this he has to first make 3 Excel files and make sure that only the data for the right person is in the right file then he emails the right files to each person. So he has 3 Excel files in email, and he’ll get back 3 Excel files as well then he has to recombine those 3 files so he can manually enter the data back into his system. In terms of interactions John has just done the same thing 3 times leaving as many times for a typo, error with files, email sending problems, wrong file to the wrong person, not all the right data in each file; it goes on and on there is just too many places for John to make a mistake, including sending an older file. Now with Sally, Jeff and Sarah the same thing they may not receive it, they may edit the wrong file (remember that whole “Would you like to Merge the Changes” message?) so how can we reduce that number of interactions and the chance of the particular “human” errors that come with them? Enter Zoho (great guys who attended SDN Day in Bangalore in 2006 and pay attention to what is happening out there in the world with their apps!), here you have something very similar to Excel (with huge added benefits of online collaboration and regardless of OS) and you can set permissions per sheet inside of each file. So with that we now have John enter the data into 3 sheets online and Sally, Jeff and Sarah accessing the data directly online and saving their changes so John has the results instantly and can download them or from there copy them into his system. Nice! I still don’t like it, it’s still too manual for me, so I decided with this little experiment to take it one step further. I wanted my SAP system to update my data for me, and I wanted to download the data back into SAP. After Sally, Jeff and Sarah made their changes. Now both Thomas Otter and Mark Crofton have been telling everyone about this little series so I’ve got to make it good and from this point on we are going to get a bit technical but not so much so that you won’t be able to follow… First and foremost you’ll need a SAP system, I downloaded the ABAP preview system here from SDN. Proceeded to install it (you can see a running commentary on Twitter about my progress, something along the lines of… Needless to say the problem was several tweaks I had done to my system removing services that I did not need because I did not have a network at home, a complete reinstall of Windows (no big deal considering another little experiment I have been running) so now things are up and running and the next blog of this will cover “opening” your system and installing SAPLink (a must have!) until then you have at least a couple of days to get your own system installed and ready to go.