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SAP Community Podcast: Talking SAP On-Demand with SAP’s John Wookey

This year marks a reboot in the podcast series I have been doing with the SAP Community Network since 2007. I have previously done more than 20 podcasts on different aspects of SCN working with Natascha Thomson, who has now moved onto a social media focused role at SAP. But the series lives on – in fact, it looks like future plans will involve an even wider and more interesting range of podcast guests.

For starters, we have this new podcast with John Wookey, EVP of Large Enterprise OnDemand at SAP. Organized by Michele Rodman-Bilafer Siva Darivemula of SAP, this podcast discussion with John gets into the design process behind SAP’s Sales OnDemand application, the first Line of Business (LOB) application built on the Business ByDesign architecture.

During the twenty minutes podcast, John also explains why the upcoming ByD 2.6 release has significance not just for SME ByD customers, but for large enterprise SAP customers as well. Siva joins John and I on the podcast to talk about the next steps for on-demand on SCN and how listeners can get involved.

So check out the podcast, and I’ll include some text highlights below the embedded player. If you have requests for future podcast topics in on-demand or other areas, please post them below.

(If for any reason the player doesn’t work, you can download the podcast using the “download media” link on the right hand side).

(Trouble downloading? if for some reason it’s not playing in its entirety for you, check out the version on JonERP.com in the meantime.

Podcast Highlights

1:20 Jon to Siva: What’s the inspiration for this podcast? Siva: One of the things we are trying to do at SAP is to get our expertise more out in the community. SAP benefits from the unvarnished feedback. This podcast is part of a series of thought leadership podcasts and webcasts that we plan to get out into the community.

2:15 Jon to John: Sales OnDemand marks a whole new era of Line of Business OnDemand for SAP. Can you tell us what is different about this product and what went into designing it?

John: We started with a different design philosophy. Today’s employee is much more technically sophisticated and is conversant using technology not only in their company but in the personal life. For them to be effective, they need software that anticipates how they want to work. The principle for our OnDemand LOB group is about how we allow people to work more effectively towards the accomplishment of their business objectives, versus how to manage someone through a static business process. People are surprised when they see the screens because it looks a whole lot more like a piece of social networking software than it does an enterprise business system, and that’s the point.

5:50 Jon to John: You’ve had a chance to show off this product to the community – what kinds of responses are you getting? John: First, off, they have a similar reaction you did: “This doesn’t look anything like enterprise software from SAP or anyone – this is more similar to the software I use in my personal life.” What we’ve done is given them a system that understands they are trying to close a deal, but if they can manage their communication around customers and partners, in the end, they have something that’s a very powerful tool.

7:50 Jon to John:  Is there a particular kind of customer that are best suited for these SAP LOB OnDemand apps – subsidiaries, industries? John: in terms of design approach, it’s not limited on any customer size or industry, but within our group, we’re focused on the large enterprise marketplace, that’s where our large SAP Business Suite customer base in located.

10:20 Jon to John: As we speak, we’re getting closer to the much-anticipated Business ByDesign 2.6 release, which includes the SDK for partner development. Why is this release so closely watched? John: Our group was really the first, staring almost a year ago now, that started building a different type of application. Our use of 2.6 in developing the LOB OnDemand apps will pave the way for our partners, using the partner tool kit, to extend the ByDesign suite or build new apps on the ByD platform. Our entire development cycle building Sales OnDemand was a bit more than six months, and we launch in two months, and that was with developers who had no experience using this different design principle.

12:50 Jon to John: Clarifying from the influencer Summit: ByD is now part of a “unified” on-demand platform SAP is calling Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Sales OnDemand is the first LOB app built on this new platform using ByD (core) technology. John: that’s an important point, correct. We believe on-demand is a crucial part of the tech industry for the foreseeable future, and we’re investing in all areas: the cloud infrastructure layer, the full suite, and the LOB apps.

13:55: Jon to John: How do you envision the partner involvement? What is the best case scenario, in terms of a balance between SAP internally versus partners rounding out SAP’s solutions? John: it tends to fall where the classic domain expertise falls. The pharma industry is a a good example of an industry where a partner, or a couple partners, could take a platform we have built and our tech and build specific solutions.

16:05 John’s closing comment: SAP recognized very clearly that on-demand is not as simple as taking simple apps and hosting them. I still hear people talk about that in the marketplace and I think some larger vendors will look at that as on-demand grows much more quickly. If you’re going to build an on-demand solution, you have to make the investment with the new design approaches – that’s what’s required to build an on-demand solution.

SAP is unique in that to build on-demand right, you have to do it from the ground up. That’s what we’ve done with ByD and LOB on-demand. I think that’s something important for people to be aware of. When I talk with customers, I say, that what we did was really built that way from the beginning, it’s a very different approach. Jon to John: So we can put to rest that SAP is going to put the entire Business Suite in the cloud, line by line of ABAP code? John: Yes, I think we can put that to rest.

18:25 Jon to Siva: How can listeners get involved with the on-demand conversation on the SAP Community Network? Siva: We are launching a community that should be available to the broader public in a few months or so, and we want the community to share their opinions. We want to know if what we’re doing is on the mark and what they want to learn more about. From blogs or discussions, we want to hear from the community, we want these resources to be valuable to the community. 

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