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Author's profile photo Moya Watson

O’Reilly on SAP as a Web 2.0 Company: Your Conversation

As you know already from buzz on the SDN, Tim O’Reilly delivered the opening keynote at SAP TechEd in Las Vegas and also took the time to field Q&A at Tim O’Reilly Q&A at Community Day. If you haven’t taken the time to watch his keynote, you should check it out. People inside and out of SAP have been uniformly impressed at O’Reilly’s vision and clarity and the potential of what Web 2.0 means for an enterprise like SAP.

Web 2.0 is in a sense about conversation within a community, and I want to direct your attention to a related ongoing conversation. Mark Yolton pointed us in his TechEd ’07 Las Vegas: Quick Links to Video, Blogs, and Hot News to the O’Reilly Radar post SAP as a Web 2.0 Company?. One of the things Tim O’Reilly did with this post was to provide us with an opportunity for dialog. To see what I mean, check in particular the comments thread that ensued (and continues to play out). The conversation really comes alive there, and with 22 comments and counting (the latest one from Friday), this is a great place to cast and consider insights from this alchemy of Web 2.0 and the enterprise.

To give you just a little peek before you check it out yourself, the comments thread touches on Business ByDesign, the challenges and ramifications of community contribution to the enterprise, what collective intelligence could really be, SAP and open source, and more. O’Reilly himself stays involved in the comments thread, so if you have any comments to throw into the pot, jump in and keep it alive.

PS: The Web 2.0 Summit convened last week in San Francisco and was awesome. If you weren’t there, you can also check the O’Reilly Radar for some of the most insightful thoughts on the summit.

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Hi Moya
      I was in Tim keynote, and I wrote some comments in that blog. Some concepts about web 2.0 are not easy to drive in an enterprise environment. From Tim keynote, I got these concept "Public by default", and I think that it's great for a community, even I wrote a blog about that, but an enterprise is another thing, an enterprise needs some private spaces, and in those spaces you don't need web 2.0 apps, you need to make business, maybe just talking face to face, It's not an easy limit, I can't say where it's, I am thinking about that, and I don't have the solution.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Why?  I heard a great quote recently from the CEO of a Big Tech Company who said, "I want everyone to stop asking why we can't open source things and start answering why we shouldn't."

      Obviously, there are ends to the your openness but, inside your company you should be as transparent as is legally allowed.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      It's not about transparent. It's about business needs. Privacy is a must most of the times, I don't know how web2.0 can help in higly private spaces.
      Author's profile photo Moya Watson
      Moya Watson
      Blog Post Author

      thanks for jumping in here. your comments are very thoughtful and this is an important conversation; i appreciate the dialog.

      as you note:  "'Public by default,' and I think that it's great for a community, even I wrote a blog about that, but an enterprise is another thing, an enterprise needs some private spaces."  the distinction you're making is that there's a difference between the enterprise and a community. the question i would pose in return is: what is the difference to you between the SDN community and SAP itself?

      what we are seeing now is a lot of support for this kind of sharing of information. there are about a million or so registered users right here on the SDN (of which you are one), and most are here because they're hungry not just to get, but also share information - hard-won at times, yes. why can't we apply the same ideas to, for example, the software itself?

      to return to Tim's Radar post:

      "such data (with consent! but perhaps by default) is one way an enterprise software company *could* create network effects that make its software better for each user as a result of the participation by other users."

      you could be part of this network, or not -- but the way i see it, you're here and participating.  and i for one am listening.

      ps: and to take one of your other comments on the Radar post - "'your-name-here'-as a web2.0 company" -- how great: wouldn't that mean that by then the consent is universal?

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      To explain difference between a community and an enterprise I taked these extracts from wikipedia

      A community is a social group of organisms sharing an environment, normally with shared interests...
      ...The word community is derived from the Latin communitas (meaning the same), which is in turn derived from communis, which means "common, public, shared by all or many"...

      Enterprise (Business)
      In economics, a business is a legally-recognized organizational entity ... designed to sell goods and/or services to consumers, usually in an effort to generate profit.

      so by my understanding
      SDN/BPX is a community from PEOPLE using SAP technologies, (the common interest is the use of SAP technologies)

      SAP is a company (enterprise/business/corporation) that sell goods and services ( in software field ) with objetive to generate profit.

      by the end
      enterprise and community are differents environments ( you like individual can BE A MEMBER of a community and WORK FOR an enterprise ).
      different environments, different software helping.
      About Web 2.0 apps: By a genetic definition of a community ( I really like this: "common, public, shared by all or many" ) Web 2.0 apps are excellent helpers.
      Not so clear for enterprises.



      Author's profile photo Mark Finnern
      Mark Finnern
      Hi Ignacio,

      The lines between enterprises, their partners and customers are blurring and we are constantly trying out new models searching for win-win situations for everyone involved.

      Community and Web 2.0 technologies are key enablers for these.

      Best example are Dan and Ed from Colgate, their ideas and engagement in the community opened up doors and actually created the fellowship program in the Imagineering team in Palo Alto. There they helped us from SAP to improve our BI offering, if I am not mistaken.

      On the side they also created the Wii-Hands, alternative access to SAP software using Wiimotes.  Quite the hit at the TechEds this year.

      What really excites me, regarding how far the lines are blurred already, is that SAP has a space on the show floor at Oracle Openworld in two weeks in San Francisco. We will of course talk about our great community. There is no better way than showing the Wii-Hands. On the first day Dan will even be in attendance.

      What will happen there: We will be at one of our best partners, as well as one of our fiercest competitors, showing an example of co-innovation developed by an employee of one of our best customers, who will be in his last week of fellowship working on improving SAP software and having fun doing it.

      Catalyst for all that is/was this community. I agree that there are things that should and will stay company confidential, but even in the Intranet Web 2.0 technologies are very beneficial.

      Just my 2c, Mark.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      I think term "web2.0" is now overloaded, I know companies using Microsoft Sharepoint (with all web2.0 capabilities) for last three or four years, it's another tool, as an email server, it's a commodity. Those companies are looking for best processes and best services yet, and believe me..."web2.0" is not their solution.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      I read Tim O'Reilly's blog and got the impression that he was surprised that such a "traditional, boring" software company as SAP is doing some Web 2.0 work.

      Perhaps what he said about customers sharing their configurations is a possibility in the (near) future, but I don't think this could be done "by default". Customers have the right to keep private their configurations because they have payed for it.

      I also don´t believe that the Web 2.0 has to be open source by default. Many of the so called "Web 2.0 applications" are NOT open source. The collaboration that takes place in this community is already improving SAP software (for example Enterprise Services requested by customers that will come in ES bundles) and the way we implement SAP solutions in customers.

      As Moya pointed out, we are all part of a huge community that is already doing collaborative work: we have all acquired our skills working with customers, and that is the knowledge we share and consume in this community. The potential that this collaboration has is inmense. And I strongly believe that the result of this collaboration makes our everyday work at customers so much better!

      Lastly, this is O'Reilly's definition of a Web 20 company:
      "By my definition, a web 2.0 company is one that uses internet-fueled network effects to build services that get better as a direct result of user interaction".
      Aren't we all in SDN/BPX doing that somehow?

      Great topic!!
      Best Regards,