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Author's profile photo Stephen Johannes

Spring Cleaning

It’s springtime and there have been a few concepts that I have been thinking about for a while. Most of these concepts, never seem to get enough of my attention for a full blog, so I thought I combine some unrelated concepts here to share:

User Interfaces

The biggest complaint about existing systems are that user interfaces are too complicated.  The problem with that statement is nobody examines the process in the first place that made the screen so ugly.  We have moved to this instant gratification concept where we expect everything to magically be finished by clicking one button.  That’s not going to happen always and at end of the day somebody has to do data entry.  The problem is do we introduce uncessary steps to the data entry process that make the user interface complicated.  My case in point is everyone says the SAP standard screens are too complicated.  The problem is that the need to support 20,000+ variants of the same process in something that should be standard is the real reason.  Yes the user interface technologies aren’t cool, but I dare anyone to put any process that requires more than 50 points of data entry capture to be complete and not make it complicated.  If you want simple user interfaces, then we are going to need to simplify the processes involved.  I hate to say it but using some of the standard interfaces is like using Microsoft Office programs.  They really are complicated to use if you don’t know how to do something, but once you figure it out and repeat it many times then it’s easy to use.  If you don’t change your process then IMHO you have lost your right to complain about the user interface.

SOA vs REST vs Whatever

Personally everyone is so darn focused on how to interface a system with a third party system, that we lost track that the interfaces between systems from the same vendor have not evolved as promised.  Why isn’t there a common semantic interface layer between ERP, CRM, SCM, SRM, etc?  It’s 2012 and we are still using a hodgepodge of interfaces and are stuck on keeping code versions the same of the products in order to build cross application enhancement.  This approach stinks because holding back all applications on an ERP cycle because you won’t acknowledge or create a true semantic meta-layer for connecting the system just is wrong.  Yes I’m annoyed that SAP CRM has be held back on ERP/SRM cycles when there is a need for more rapid innovation for on-premise customers.  SOA only solved the external problems, and basically never solved the communication within an integrated suite. 

Spring Baseball

I’m glad to see that St. Louis Cardinals having been playing well after losing a key player to free agency and having other players injured including my favorite pitcher Chris Carpenter.  It’s a long baseball season so small sample sizes in baseball are always misleading.  I’m still waiting however for SAP to really show us the power of HANA by loading up all the baseball stats(not just those in demo) and show MLB how HANA could lead to Moneyball Part II: The wrath of HANA.


Could someone at SAP please find enterntainment that have been commercially relevent in the last decade.  No I’m not expecting Lady Gaga, Kei$ha or Adelle, but the muscial act selection for the last two years for SAPPHIRE just projects a very outdated and worn image.  Perhaps that’s what SAP is trying to achieve and if so I commend them on the selections.  Next year I think the Lawerence Welk Band will be headlining in an effort to keep rolling back the clock.

Final thoughts

I will continue references to baseball in all my blogs for 2012 until the end of the regular MLB season.  I live in a baseball town and that’s all I can say.  For fans of other teams you are more than welcome to comment on your thoughts and I will even welcome comments from Cubs fans. 

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      Author's profile photo Mark Finnern
      Mark Finnern

      Hi Stephen,

      When I heard it is Van Halen I thought similar to you, what brought me around is this Esquire article:

      and interview:

      Love this passage:

      It's all in the fingers, man. He tells a story about when the band first hit. Van Halen was opening for Ted Nugent back in 1978 at the Capital Centre. Ted was cool enough to give the band a sound check. He's standing off to the side and he's listening to me, and he comes up and says,"Hey, you little ****! Where's your little magic black box?" I'm going, Who the **** is that? And it was Ted. Hey Ted, it's nice to meet you, thanks for the sound check. And he's going, "Let me play your guitar!" I go, "Okay, here you go." He starts playing my guitar and it sounds like Ted. He yells,"You just removed your little black box, didn't you? Where is it? What did you do?" I go, "I didn't do anything!" So I play, and it sounds like me. He says, "Here, play my guitar!" I play his big old guitar and it sounds just like me. He's going, "You little ****!" What I'm trying to say is I am the best at doing me. Nobody else can do me better than me.

      Read more:

      Now I am excited, Mark.

      Author's profile photo Stephen Johannes
      Stephen Johannes
      Blog Post Author

      Love to hear your impression of the concert now that it is past.  Yes I never doubt the muscial skills or contributions of the selected acts.  In fact most are top notch.  I think there is a generational gap in my case where my age group was when grunge was "blooming" and the great bands from that era were fading.

      Take care,