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SAP Influencer Summit 09: Report Card

For the last several days, I’ve been meaning to write a final blog on the Influencer Summit which provided my own assessment and analyzed influencer feedback.  In particular I was interested in comparing word frequency and sentiment analysis between the live twitter stream and the subsequent articles.  I haven’t done so but this time it wasn’t SAP Influencer Summit 09: Collision of Physical and Virtual but rather my day job.  Since others have provided early analysis, I decided to follow the lead of some of the attendees by providing my own “summit scorecard”.   

Since its inception in 2003, the mission of the influencer summit is to offer an inside look at SAP’s solution strategy for the following year and beyond.  What began as an industry analyst conference has evolved to include other important industry voices including bloggers, business consultants, faculty, media, and user group members.  SAP recognizes that all of these groups influence our industry and together the collective thoughts and feedback of these individuals is very powerful in helping to shape our strategy and direction.  As such, when developing the summit program, we asked many of the influencers what they wanted to hear and established objectives which would measure the success of this event.  

While the influencers were interested in a wide range of issues, three topics dominated their feedback: technology innovation, on demand (especially SAP Business ByDesign), and sustainability.   

Today’s post contains my assessment on each of these topics.  I’m a tough grader so my SAP colleagues may not be pleased with my scores. 

Technology innovation

Vishal Sikka focused his morning keynote on the power of breakthrough technology including in-memory, cloud-based consumption, pervasive connectedness and interoperable components.  Much of the presentation focused on leverage advances in in-memory data and application management to reduce the size and importance of the “technology stack” over time with the potential to significantly lower TCO. For many people, his magic paper video was the highlight of the event.  Vishal also demonstrated groundbreaking mobile technology to access and update information in real time on preferred mobile devices, such as the Google Android OS and Apple iPhone.  

My rating is B-.  Why?  While we did a good job of opening people’s eyes to the innovation coming out of SAP, some observers are maintaining a “wait and see” attitude until these innovations show up in more shipping products. 

On Demand

John Wookey noted that SAP is poised to execute on on-demand in the formidable fashion with which it has defined and led the business software market.  In a nod to frequent jabs by hungry competitors, Wookey quipped, “Being a leader in any phase of computing doesn’t guarantee leadership in the next.”  Wookey walked through the breadth of the SAP on demand portfolio, from line of business solutions, to business intelligence, to sustainability and BusinessByDesign.   With Peter Lorenz, John Wookey detailed SAP’s 100 clients for BusinessByDesign and shown how the charter experience is serving both SAP and the customers well.  The TCO (total cost of ownership) of Business ByDesign has been reduced dramatically (~20X) and the user experience improved.

So, how did we rate?  Based on the tweets and feedback from influencers I spoke with, the attendees were impressed with the progress we’ve made.  Some even speculated that SAP was well on the way to being a force in on demand.  Getting out my grading pen, I give us a B+. 


With the Climate Conference in Copenhagen on everyone’s mind, another hot topic (no pun intended) is Sustainability. Peter Graf, SAP’s Chief Sustainability Officer, outlined a broad strategy of sustainability, honing in on the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit.  “If Copenhagen happens as organizers hope, it will mean regulation,” Graf stated.  He underlined that irrespective of Copenhagen’s outcomes, SAP customers are already using SAP software to take the lead on sustainable business practices. “Every major country that will be held accountable to a carbon footprint reduction is a country in which we operate. And every industry in which our customers operate is an industry in which we’re expert. Our software is a leading means through which our customers can meet and beat expectations, whether they’re regulated or self-imposed.” 

On the topic of Sustainability, I give us an A-.  SAP is one of the only vendors with a holistic strategy and we have done a very good job of making SAP itself more sustainable. 


What do you think?  Am I a tough grader or did I grade on a curve?  What scores would you give? 

My best to all of you and your families for a safe and happy holiday season and I look forward to continuing our conversation in 2010.

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  • Jon -

    I would have given Vishal's presentation a higher grade.  SAP isn't just shipping packaged innovation, it also is a platform for innovation - Vishal showed how customers (or ISVs, or SIs, or SAP) can innovate on the SAP platform, and that was very impressive.

    Overall, your eval was refreshingly honest.  Thanks for that!  The image shows an "A" for "Entertainment" - would enjoy seeing your eval on that.  Catch up with you soon ...

    - Dennis

  • Jonathan -

    Good, balanced evaluation.  The one thing missing is commentary on the SAP customers that shared their stories at the event.  I found their stories compelling, their candor refreshing, and it was great to see the open dialogue with the influencers.

  • write this blog. Not many executives have prioritized yet to share important information like this on SCN and I applaud you for leading the charge. Getting your honest perspective is very interesting. Happy New Year to you as well!