(I posted this on my own blog on my way back from SAP #DKOM and a good friend suggested I repost it here too. So here it is).

At SAP TechEd Madrid (November last year) I wrote about the Developer Renaissance, covering my interview with Aiaz Kazi from the Technology & Innovation Platform, and SAP’s re-focus on developers.

This week I had the great honour of being invited to, and speaking at SAP DKOM (Development Kick-Off Meeting) in Karlsruhe. It was a truly great event – thousands of SAP developers attending many tracks and sessions on everything from Analytics, through Database & Technology, to Cloud, and more besides. As I sit here in Frankfurt airport on my way home, I’ve been reflecting on perhaps the best single takeaway from this event. Yes the content of the talks was great (and I enjoyed giving my session on SAP NetWeaver Gateway too). Yes the venue and organisation was second to none. Yes it was great to see the SAP Mentor wolfpack and our illustrious leader Mark Finnern.

But most of all, I saw, felt, and experienced something that I last remember from over 20 years ago in my SAP career: The Developer Connection.

Back in the day, when I was (more) innocent, certainly a lot younger, and waist-deep in IBM mainframe tech, I moved around implementing and supporting R/2 installations in the UK and Europe. Esso Petroleum in London, Deutsche Telekom in Euskirchen, and so on. In those days you could catch up with all the OSS notes on your favourite topics over a couple of coffees. Most importantly however, you had connections to the developers at SAP who were building and shipping the code that you were implementing. We knew each other’s names, and in many cases, shared phone numbers or email addresses too. There was a strong bond between customers and developers – and we worked together to make the software better.

That connection lost its way over the next few years, when SAP (consciously or unconsiously) built barriers between us. It became almost impossible in some cases to even find out the name of the developer or team responsible, let alone contact them directly.

Well – that connection is back. And better than ever before. Both at SAP TechEd Madrid, and this week at DKOM, developers were coming and saying hello. Developers who are building the great stuff we’re exploring and using, like SAPUI5 and NetWeaver Gateway. People like you and me. We are connecting again. I think there are a number of reasons for this.

First, there’s the amazing community called the SAP Community Network (SCN – although for me it will always be the SAP Developer Network – SDN) that brings together developers from all sources. Then there’s SAP’s re-focus on developers, and the corresponding coupling of empowerment and responsibility that SAP is giving directly to those developers. Further, there’s the inexorable turning inside out manoeuvre that SAP began a few years ago now, moving cautiously at first but now gathering pace as more and more technology directions that SAP are following are from outside the SAP universe, not inside. SAP developers naturally are connecting with the wider development community in general.

Whatever the reason, it’s a great sign that the future looks exciting for SAP development as a whole. Connections, collaboration and cooperation is returning. The Developer Connection is here again.

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  1. Frank Koehntopp

    Couldn’t agree more – that was one hell of an exciting event.

    Actually I’d be in favor of doing mini-DKOMs distributed over the year, dedicated to smaller topic areas (like mobile, SAPUI5, Gateway, HANA). There was too much in this one to really get into details.


  2. Matthias Steiner

    Well said DJ!

    While I have not been around as long as you did I do agree that developer connections are on the rise again. Events like InnoJams, DemoJams, Hacker Nights, SAP Inside Tracks, TechEd etc. are where the geeks gather and where these connections are build.

    I guess it boils down to our vision of the new SAP, which is more pro-active in engaging the community and mingle on the events. Other initiatives like the Customer Engagement Initiaves etc. also focus on establing a coninuous dialog with our customers…

    And finally… if you take how SAP’s embracing social media to reach out to our ecosystem then I’d definately agree that there’s a very positive trend…

    So, yes… the developer connection is there again, but only if we succeed in enabling even the smallest dev. shops to build app(lication)s for our platform in big numbers then we are were we want to be… looking forward to push with you on getting there!

  3. Oliver Weyand

    Hi DJ,

    I attended your session at DKOM and really enjoyed it. It was during that talk when I had the idea of getting in touch with you and the rest of the mentors to discuss a possible collaboration. With what you said I feel that your blog might be the right place to start.

    I run the ES Workplace demo systems and the idea is to make use of this systems beyond their current means. At the moment SAP uses them to demo things that we feel might be interesting. Wouldn’t it be great to use these demo systems to share your ideas with the community as well? Although I cannot open the systems to all 4500+ people currently using them, there might be a way to open them to a well known trusted group. Obviously I’m speaking about the mentors.

    Probably there are some details we have to check first, so if you are interested just drop me a line to esworkplace@sap.com.

    1. DJ Adams Post author

      Hi Oliver

      What a great offer, thank you very much. And how nice to receive that offer in comments to a blog post about the developer connections! I’ll get in touch with you via email as you say, and I’ll also mention it to Mark Finnern, our Mentor leader.

      Thanks, and have a great holiday weekend.



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