SAP has Streamwork – kind of similar to googlewave, and I get endless emails from it. Any time the SAP mentor group has something to say, some one posts it there – and system sends cryptic notes. It is kind of funny – isn’t the whole idea (well, at least a big part of it) to reduce dependence on email?
Some time ago, I wrote in my personal blog about the importance of context. http://andvijaysays.wordpress.com/2010/05/26/context-is-everything/ Well, I guess that is what was missing in googlewave and also in SAP Streamwork. As a stand alone thing, I cannot imagine these things ever making sense in enterprise world. For that purpose, it needs to be context sensitive and context intelligent.
If I am looking at a Vendor master record, I want to see all the structured data available to me from all the systems (SRM, AP, BI etc), and then within that context – I want to see all my unstructured communication with the vendor (chats, emails, calls, tweets etc). But do I really need “all” the info? No I don’t – I need useful information and that is where the context intelligence needs to be there. For example if I am creating a PO for the vendor, the information I need is kind of different from what I need when I am sending payment advices. System knows the transaction I am in – and the master data : so the context is not hard to figure out. Once a context is known – then everything integrates into a nice pretty picture. And without this – it is useless information, and a nuisance.
Unlike Google, SAP has a long history of strong process knowledge, and good data design. And with BOBJ, they have a world class analytics solution. SAP’s portal technology has matured over time too. So it really beats me as to why SAP did not come out all guns blazing with an integrated solution.
May be SAP will surprise us all and unveil something better than what I envision. Should we wait till next SAPPHIRE to find out? maybe TECHED? or will SAP Streamwork end up the same way as Googlewave?