I was invited along with a few other people to be a “live blogger” for the SAP Run Better Tour 2011 event. One of the perks of being a live blogger, beyond getting access to the event wifi, was getting a chance to meet the keynote speaker Steven Lucas from SAP for a 30 minute question and answer session.
During the Keynote
Honestly coming into the event, I was not sure whether I would have any questions to ask. I don’t have much business objects exposure beyond presentations that I have attended at SAP Teched about the tool. However after listening to the keynote there were many themes talked about that did not necessarily involve BOBJ specifically that could be great points for discussion
Gathering to meet Steve Lucas
There were about four of us waiting to head up to Steven Lucas. Out of the crowd there was one familiar face that I can’t seem to avoid in St. Louis, fellow SAP Mentor Jamie Oswald was also present. Once we got the green light to we headed up. We were greated by Steve and took seats at large round conference table.
The meeting itself
Unlike most meetings it started as true social media free for all, with Steven telling us to ask him a question and let the conversation go from there. Since I don’t remember all the questions asked, I am instead going to go through some of the notes from the session that I took.
The conversation begins with a question back to us
One important question that was brought up was what is the best mode of consuming information. The challenge was how do you take structured and unstructured data and try to utilize them to build a more intimate relationship with your customer. Down this path we looked at how corporate data is different from 10 years ago before the consumer web broke out.
Looking at current trends, smartphones will not always be the first method of access. In some areas of the world business will still be conducted via SMS and people will purchase via SMS. This lead to a statement that it would be hard to imagine a world full of laptops in two years and instead more than likely mobile devices will gradually replace the laptop as the primary access point.
Along this theme was how applications were being driven to the cloud by mobile devices. Most applications can be done on a mobile device and those require deep complex computing and be pushed upwards. A quote from this conversation was “desktop computers are irrevelant”.
Cloud Computing in further depth
As the conversation turned towards the cloud Steven told us that in 2005 he would have definitely said every application would be in the cloud, however his viewpoint has changed. Now we are in 2011 certain types of applications are more difficult in the cloud due to compliance, legal and other issues that are not technical.
Innovation vs Core
New applications on the “edge” or innovation would be delivered as SAAS in a “thin layer” that would be a no brainer. Another interesting quote from the conversation was that Customers that want to improve performance always invest in SAP, but for other goals may go elsewhere. The driving themes of a stable core with thin(think easy to implement/innovate) layers of innovation on top were mentioned. The other major game changer was the concept in memory analytics and in memory database technology.
Back to consumption again
Consumption of information was really stressed on the key driver behind what is happening. A great illustration of about how a personal activity vs how IT would do it was illustrated. The key point is that when we analyze data on the web, we often tweet to validate/refute the data we just found. What is lacking in the enterpise side is capturing that acknowledgment of the data sets and letting the data sets mature based on the user observations. In addition speed and performance with how google like speed has reduce our tolerance for things being “slow”. We can’t have a google server farm, but in-memory computing with commodity hardware can help us provide performance that is closer to “google like” speed.
It was great conversation with quite a few questions asked by Jamie Oswald. I personally only asked one question surrounding the innovation vs stable core topic area. I really want to thank Steven Lucas here for taking the time to meet with us and providing a great perspective on how all these new game changing forces tie together.