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Should SAP join Google´s Wave?

Hosted conversations as a new concept

Google presented a new product on its developer conference: Google Wave. This video gives you  a very good overview of the new functionalities.

In short: The different tools which we use today for eMail, Instant Messaging and Wikis will be combined in one tool. You can add people to a conversation dynamically and you can reply not to a whole conversation but add your comments directly at the appropriate piece of the message. Moreover the tool has a replay functions. Therefore people who are added later on to a conversation could see how the conversation has evolved over time with all its dynamics. In order to protect data conversations or part of the conversations could be marked as private.

But even more important: Google offers a rich set of APIs up from the beginning and promised to open the source code for developers as they would see a rich set of solutions. Furthermore ist should not onnly offer a solution with all the data on Google´s servers with all the security concerns discussions for companies involved but also the ability to deploy the solution within a company network with its own servers.  

I was really excited by the new opportunities which this tool could introduce to my personal workstyle and I am keen to test in out in order to see whether it gets through the reality check..

The SAP perspective

It is very likely that Google´s Wave will be a huge success with many users. Therefore a Google Wave/ SAP solution could complement the already existing combinations with the Microsoft (Duett) and the IBM world (Alloy). For the SAP world this solution offers different usage scenarios:

1. Google Wave as additional interface for collaborative scenarios, e.g. Recruiting

Collaborative scenarios like the recruiting of new employees include a lot of conversations between different actors (requesting manager, recruiter, HR department, works council With this integration between Google Wave and eRecruiting all these conversations and even the interaction with the applicant could be handled from the same place all the people involved use for their normal communication anyway. In order to use the benefits of such a scenario other use cases are required.

2. Google Wave as authorization management interface

Adding new people to a wave (e.g. recuiting of a new employee) requires SAP HR authorizations. Therefore a functionality is needed which triggers such an authorization process in the SAP system in case a new ressource is added to the Wave. The Google Wave API should enable this.

3. Google Wave as additional interface for approval processes

The same functionality is needed in the area of approval processes as a complimentary piece for the UWL.

4. Google Wave with integrated BO capabilities

Google Wave could also be used in the area of Business intelligence by offering functionalities to include BO capabilities in Waves. Again the authorization usage scenario would be of great importance here.

5. Google Wave as knowledge sharing tool with strong connections to SAP HR

Using Wave not only as a tool to bring asynchronous (eMail) and synchronous (Instant messaging) capabilities but as a wiki with connections to SAP HR could be another usage scenario. People could mark text in a wave as important for a special area of expertise (e.g. for consultants involved in ramp-up projects). By using a qualification catalogue in SAP HR this information could be distributed to the relevant experts within the company. Such scenarios could improve the knowledge sharing process within the companies tremendously and help to overcome one of the biggest obstacles for people to share knowledge in a company: the need to put in additional efforts to the normal work in order to share the knowledge with other colleagues.


I am quite sure that many of you will find additional scenarios for such a combination. I am quite thrilled about the perspectives which such a combination would offer. But perhaps my enthusiasm about a new tool misleads my judgement. Therefore my question to the community: Should SAP join the Google Wave?


Please note that all my thoughts about possible scenarios are my own and do not represent any planning or assessment of my employer.

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  • I think many companies would be interested in using this if the could run it within their own datacentre. I assume that GWT plays a big role here, so I assume it would integrate well with the Collaboration Portal functionality, which can also host content from iGoogle.

    It is also Open Source, so this should be possible for SAP to do (license permitting).

    PS: Though I am worried about how long Wikis has taken for SAP to integrate!

    • Wave and GWT are only loosely related.  Wave is actually a protocol, and Google will be providing a reference implementation and an end-to-end solution, but Wave has been designed to support federated scenarios of distributed Wave servers (including a mix of cloud and on-premise), and of course non-Google Wave servers/clients.  GWT plays into the equation as the technology that Google will use to create its Wave client and its embeddable client components, as well as the technology with which to build Gadgets that can be embedded in waves.

      Hey, look on the bright side - given how minimal the acceptance of Duet was, this can only be better! 😉

    • Just to add to the previous reply -- bear in mind that the Wave Protocol is based on Jabber / XMPP, which describes a federated model of multiple servers (and clients). So just as it's possible to run a Jabber / XMPP server inside an enterprise's firewall (and optionally connect out), so also with Wave.


      • Hi,

        thanks for the technical input. At the moment I am working on more detailled use cases and your input is helpfull for this.

        Best regards,

  • It is a nice surprise to see an article about the possible cooperation of Google Wave and SAP, just a few days after the introduction of Wave!
    In my opinion, the most interesting intersection of the two concepts is the COLLABORATION. I mean the kind of social intelligence that came up with WEB2. I will take the time to study the possible integration at the area of Business Workplace, Workflow and Application Sharing...


    • Hi,
      thanks for the hint towards social networks. Indeed it would be interesting to think about the use about BO´s analyzer in this area.
      Thanks and best regards,
  • Hi ,

    The google wave implementation in to the corporate world is depended on integrations with ERP solutions. If a there where developed some integration to dashboards or to places where users could execute the ERP side of the processes it would make life easier for business users.

    I think that in most business processes waves could be used.


    • Hi,

      thanks for the feedback. Currently I am working on more use cases in detail. As soon as they are more mature I will post them and I am looking forward to more feedback then.

      Best regards,