I have been a big critic of SAP not listening to the market sufficiently on how its products are percieved, and incorporating that feedback into their products and solutions. And I was not alone – do a google search and you will find many others had / still have this opinion. Well, that is changing – certainly for me at least.
It started like this today morning – Ruks Omar, A Solution Marketing expert from Netweaver BPM group reached out to Marilyn Pratt to find who she can talk to amongst SAP mentors to explore how BPM is percieved. Marilyn pointed her to Dipankar Saha and Somnath Manna, and they provide some valuable insight to her. Next, Somnath pulls me into the conversation – and I add my 2 cents. ( Somnath, Dipankar and I are colleagues at IBM too, and we now have a fourth mentor in our midst – Abesh) Few minutes after I replied, I am already trading emails with Ruks and we agree to talk on the phone. It was already evening in Waldorf, but she called me promptly.
I absolutely enjoyed the conversation – she had great questions, and respected my opinions (which admitedly were not all positive) and patiently lets me explain my thoughts. She also followed up with an email with a link to the use cases for BPM , which is awesome http://wiki.sdn.sap.com/wiki/display/BPX/Business+Process+Management+Use+Cases
This was the third time in last few months that I got to involve directly in providing feedback to SAP.
A good friend of mine from SAP Labs in Walldorf moved from CRM development to the Solution Manager group. Once he ramped on his new role, he reached out to me and few others and was eager to get some feedback on what the market thinks of Solution Manager product. And exactly like Ruks did – he followed up with more questions and clarifications. When he was an Architect in CRM, he used to do exactly the same – he was always open for a good idea, irrespective of the source. At that time – I used to think he was an exception at SAP 🙂
And then there is Ingo Hilgefort – the living legend on Business Objects tools. Not only can I get direct answers to any question I can throw at him – he is very good at seeking feedback. Currently I am reviewing his latest book . I will be posting my review here very soon.
All this is on top of the countless opportunities Mark Finnern provides SAP Mentors to give our feedback to SAP. Also, there has been an increased presence of SAP employees in SCN asking for community input. I especially liked the one on Order Management.
The three people I mentioned above are from three parts of SAP – and one is in Solution Marketing, another is in solution management and the third is from group product management. This tells me that SAP has made a great start in making this part of their corporate culture. There are a lot more things they can do, but I now firmly believe that one day soon, they will cover most of it.