This is my first blog on the new SCN, and I really wish I had a more positive topic to post. And as always, this is strictly my personal opinion – not that of my employer (or past employers).
Pinnacle awards are a big deal in SAP land. It is SAP’s way to thank and recognize various partners every year. Some how, all the big partners will get some pinnacle award every year in some category, and they all use it to demonstrate their leadership in the market. Since I have worked for a few companies in my career, I know they all like to get one, since it is yet another differentiator in a crowded market. That being said, on a personal level – I am not sure how much a pinnacle award influences a buying decision – probably very little. Going by the snark fest on twitter and other social media channels every time pinnacle awards are awarded, I assume there are many people who think this does not have a lot of meaning.
To be fair, Pinnacle awards are not the only awards that deserve such criticism – this is a widespread practice by all Enterprise Software Vendors.
The one time I thought Pinnacle award was given for a good reason was when SAP introduced it in 2010 for leadership in communities. Cap Gemini won the award that year. http://www.sap.com/partners/pinnacle-awards/2010-pinnacle-awards.epx
Now, we all know that SAP is one of the leading voices advocating “social” as the next wave in enterprise. SAP executives – CEOs and everyone all the way down the corporate hierarchy, have spoken all the right things about why community ( can you count how many times assorted SAP folks have shown a slide with 2 Million SCN members ) is the right way to go, and encouraging partners and customers to get active in SCN. In short, if you took them at face value – you would probably have thought SAP seriously considered community as a strategic asset, and were serious about their request to partners and customers to be a part of it. I know I did .
In 2011, IBM won the award for communities. http://www.sap.com/partners/pinnacle-awards/2011-pinnacle-awards.epx . I was positively thrilled, and so were all my colleagues who were active in SAP community. In true community spirit, people who were already active in SAP community spread the word within the larger organization.
And then came the announcement of the 2012 Pinnacle Awards. http://www.sap.com/our-partners/pinnacle-award-winners.epx And guess what – there is NO category for communities. I was positive that this was just an oversight – and pinged Mark Yolton to confirm. To my dismay – Mark confirmed that there is no communities award for 2012. And he seemed as disappointed – if not more, than me. Mark also explained on twitter that Eric Duffaut needed to reduce the number of #SAP Partner Pinnacle categories and #SCN fell out.https://twitter.com/#!/MarkYolton/status/184053629156728832 . Eric is a very senior executive at SAP, and a well known leader. Here is his bio http://sme.news-sap.com/files/2011/07/Eric-Duffaut.pdf
I have no idea why Eric needed to reduce the categories . I can venture a guess on 2 potential reasons – 1. It is for budgetary reasons or 2. He did not see enough value in this category to do this in 2012. Hopefully Eric or someone else at SAP can explain the rationale to us.
I really hope there is a third reason why he made this decision – since budget for this award, although not cheap in absolute dollars for an individual, is not all that much considering the expense budget of a large corportation like SAP. And I especially hope it is not for the second reason – since that would cast some doubt on SAP’s true commitment to SAP community. Partners form a very large part of SCN, and not recognizing them for community leadership – especially after doing it for 2 years makes little sense in my opinion.
If there was an award in 2012, I have no idea who would have won it. I would of course have been very happy if IBM won it, but I would also have cheered with 100% sincerity if some one else won it. It is SAP’s call completely on what awards it wants to give out every year – but I would like to nudge them to reconsider their position on community award for 2012 and every year going forward.
Pinnacle Awards are not the only way to recognize community leadership – I get that. But stopping this award abruptly after 2 years – and without any explanation to the community from SAP leadership team – is not cool. I sure hope this is not the beginning of SAP losing interest in having partners play a significant role in the SAP community.
Am I the only one with this POV?