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I heard Google is moving on, and not investing in Googlewave anymore. A search on SDN for “Googlewave” gave me 2 pages of hits – pointing to some excellent blogs and wiki content. A search on internet has many page hits – mostly positive reviews too. So then what happened? 

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?

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4 Comments

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  1. Dennis Howlett
    @vijay – I wrote something very similar yesterday: http://is.gd/e5rFN – in comments I added that I have great hopes for Chatter largely because I can see how it becomes a contextual part of processes available inside an application. If SAP doesn’t move this on – and as THE process company it certainly should – then I fear that Streamwork will wither away.
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    1. Vijay Vijayasankar Post author
      You expressed it much better in your blog than my rambling here. Glad to note we are thinking alike on this topic – and hence I am also inclined to think there must be others who see this the way we are
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  2. Jon Reed
    Well, put me in the violent agreement boat with you guys re: Streamwork, I wonder what island we will be landing on.

    I continue to be hopeful that Streamwork will be contextualized with SAP ERP and BI as Vijay and Dennis both described. That’s the bigtime win. Yes, Streamwork can do some things on decision/prioritization in isolation, but to achieve enterprise relevance an integrated vision is required. I believe Streamwork has enough internal buy-in to achieve this altitude so fingers crossed.

    In my view Streamwork can also improve greatly in useability, and will need to in order to achieve the aims you described. A more engaged and urgent community dialogue would help greatly here. I’m choosing my words carefully here as I’m engaged in some backchannel feedback directly to the Streamwork team and I want in fairness to allow a bit more time for incorporation of the same.

    For now there is so much room for improvement but the contextualized vision Vijay/Dennis have articulated is clearly the only road towards “killer app” status. Otherwise what we’ll have is at best mildly helpful and at worst irrelevant.

    – Jon

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  3. Ransome Balogun
    In my view too, I guess SAP is in a good position to leverage the experience from Wave (RIP) and Gravity to transform Streamwork into a contextualised product within the SAP platform.
    After all, we should be leading the way in the integration of the unstructured data into the ERP backend.
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