Skip to Content
Author's profile photo Mark Finnern

CD Influence IV: SDN Meets Labs: Executive Townhall

Update: Great news. Elvira Wallis Senior Vice President Product Managment SAP NetWeaver is joining the gang her fellow Executives at the Community Day for the Townhall meeting and is looking forward to your questions.

SDN old timers may remember the SDN Meets Labs that we had in Palo Alto, Walldorf and Bangalore in 2005. When I met Chris Harris earlier this year in Melbourne he fondly recalled the Executive Panel: An open forum, where we got 4-5 of SAP Executives together and for an hour asked them questions.  Thomas Jung, back then the rising star of SDN and working at Kimball International SDN Meets Labs: Palo Alto – Impressions – Day 1:

SAP Future Strategy from a Technology Perspective Its always fun as a customer to be able to put your supplier on the spot with the tough questions. There certainly were a few in this Panel discussion. The following are a few of the highlights that I am going to take home.

1. IT departments are really going to have to restructure in the near future. The departments themselves are going to have to center around the roles of Application Composition and Component Lifecycle Management instead of Application’s Development.
2. Organizations are going to need to begin to come up with strategies for managing services (when do they become shared and who owns/maintains them).
3. Organizations must determine what reusability of objects becomes profitable. There is a functional bell curve with extremely specific objects on one end and extremely general objects (like update database) on the other end. The value to the business lies in the middle (like update customer).
4. In the near future Hardware and Infrastructure should become invisible. Instead we should have a collection of services from different applications running across a cluster of different hardware. This will impact how we monitor our infrastructures and applications.
5. SAP is working to reduce the effort it takes to build User Interfaces. But the browser isn’t the only UI endpoint that you need to target. Next generation UI’s need to be meta-model based and independent of the delivery medium (the coming age of Smart Phones and RFID is an example). But no one answered the direct question of when the SAPGui will be retired.

Participants liked the session. Thank you Chris for reminding us. We are having such a Town Hall at the Community Day too, and quite some heavy hitters have agreed to come this year in Las Vegas:


Elvira Wallis Senior VP Product Managment SAP NetWeaver
 Elvira Wallis Senior Vice President Product Management SAP NetWeaver. 
Vishal Sikka as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to lead the company’s technology and architecture strategy across its product portfolio. 
Zia Yusuf, Executive Vice President SAP Ecosystem Management is responsible for leading SAP in developing partnerships and processes for its software platform.
Peter Graf, Executive Vice President of SAP Solution Marketing, is responsible for shaping the company’s industry solution, application and platform strategy.
My Boss: Mark Yolton Vice President Community Networks.


I send out the invitation to them a couple of weeks ago and within 15 minutes all of them agreed to be part of it, it really made my day. It proofs how important our communiy is to our executives if they all want to meet you in person and answer your questions.

First thing I want to know is, whether they all go to the same photographer? I found all of their pictures on the net. May be we had it all wrong here on SDN with our pictures, it looks like to be successful on an executive level, you need a somewhat grayish, brownish, greenish background in your picture 😉

By the way you don’t need a tie, at the Community Day, and we also don’t look down on you if you come with one, we are inclusive that way. 

Two weeks later in Munich it is a bit tougher for the US people to be there, so many will be still on the plane. Mark and Vishal have agreed to come. We are looking into getting some executives from Walldorf to answer your questions. Bangalore is too still too far out for us to know who will come.

Therefore if you have burning questions or recommendations for our executives, sign up and I see you at the Community Day.

Assigned Tags

      You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      ...the event in Palo Alto and the get together the night before and Gordon Biersch;-)
      What a great event and the first time for me to get to know many of the heavy hitters on SDN - Thomas, Mario, Mark, Matthias.
      The panel was exceptional and a great opportunity to talk to a group of people who shape the produkt so many of us a working with. How often do you have the opportunity to talk to such a group in a nice informal environment?
      Thanks for making this happen again.
      🙂 Harald
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Only a couple of days until TechEd opens with Community Day and Tim O'Reilly!  I'm looking forward to the Executive panel and hope we get some great questions that lead to interesting discussions and insight.  See you in Vegas.

      Mark Yolton