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Six questions for SAP Management

Far be it of me to disagree with Mark Yolton about themes that will emerge at SAPPHIRE. I sense that customers might have other things on their mind.

Background: SAP asked if I might consider asking senior managment some questions on video. As I said elsewhere – that’s ballsy. I imagine they are thinking of using Skype or ooVoo. Unfortunately I doubt my broadband link is good enough to support that so I decided that since these are questions I’d put in the public domain anyway, why not record and post to YouTube?

And before anyone asks – yes: I have a great face for radio.

More important…are these the kinds of question you would ask SAP? What else would you wish to ask in the run up to SAPPHIRE? 

Disclosure: the cartoons I use to illustrate my point all come from those I have bought from Hugh MacLeod. He makes complex issues seem so much easier to understand. 

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  • Hi Dennis,

    As always, you ask excellent questions. I think question two regarding "reputation" is the most interesting one.  What is missing is a clearer definition of "reputation"? "Reputation" by itself really is too vague. Does it refer to the reputation as a leader in innovation or a vendor who supplies excellent quality. Both? I think this is one of critical questions that remains unanswered. What exactly does SAP want to be in 5 years? The biggest challenge is bringing the innovation that exists on the edges to the ERP core to rejuvenate it. This transformation is more than just combining cloud-based  innovations to the on-premise offerings - it is a willingness to fundamentally change how and why enterprise software is developed.


      • Dennis,

        Excellent set of questions !

        We need to see evidence of *fundamental* change .. Why is there a general perception that the company is stagnant? there's innovation on the edges, no doubt, what steps is the management taking to make sure it gets channeled?

        Also as Richard points out, its not very clear where SAP is headed in the 5+ year time span ... we all know a big part of the answer is the cloud, but I hope that that one word is not the whole plan.

        • Dennis, if SAP can answer your questions at this year's Sapphire it's  going to be one heck of a memorable show.

          I liked your point, as Dick put it: "The biggest challenge is bringing the innovation that exists on the edges to the ERP core to rejuvenate it." Agreed. If there is a notion that the core is stable and unchanging and that innovation happens on the edges, that is not going to get it done. Rejuvenate the core as well.

          I know a lot of rock stars at SAP but that is different than what you are referring to. Something more pervasive, something more urgent - and more harnessing of the passion of those in the community like individual developers, which you alluded to in your other ZDNet post "Where's the passion?" - that's what I for one am looking for.

          - Jon

  • Dennis,

    this may not be something for the customers to listen to. since i have just "graduated" from the class, i found it a treasure trove of where SAP is headed, interspersed in this HPI lecture series.

    warning: it's not always easy to follow, and there are very few instances of it being in German, but it's at least as good as what i read during my "tenure" at Gartner, well, some 13 years ago.

    i didn't realize Mr. HP is such a great story teller.

    BTW, my radio face is a pretty one, too 😉

    • Hasso is a brilliant story teller for geeks. To your point - those are geek issues and we've known about some of those for a while. Check out and look for Dan McWeeney's video on columnar DBs (for ex)

      More important is the strategic stuff that involves getting people to sign checks. IMHO.

      • Dennis,

        looks can be deceiving. Mr HP provides a lot of commentary in addition to the "geek" stuff. It's the comments that make those lectures really worth the effort of converting from realplayer to iPod to CD audio, at least it was worth the effort for me.