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Enterprise vendors start beating the drum

Posted by Susan Scrupski on September 26, 2007

IBM web2.0 goes to work Last week was a banner 2.0 week for enterprise vendors. Gee. Do you think they were reading my blog? The week got off to a good start for me with a snappy little web 2.0 seminar hosted right here in Austin by IBM, “Web 2.0 Goes to Work.” Of course, SAP announced SAP By Design, but my fellow Irregulars did an awesome job conveying the import of that announcement. ibm seminar logoLike I said to Charlie Wood at lunch the other day, “I can’t even spell SAP…” So, I won’t attempt to comment on the SAP announcement. I’m scheduled to attend SAP’s TechEd Conference next week. We’ll see if I can be learnt.

On the IBM gig, I was surprised, frankly, to find that both Rod Smith and David Barnes were both in attendance at this seminar and both presented. Smith wasn’t there for the whole shindig, but he was there to lend executive support to the the day. Smith related some anecdotal accounts of IBM’s experiences discussing 2.0 with key accounts. In general he said it’s easier to sit with lines of business now (as opposed to IT) to brainstorm ideas. With these new approaches, customers are willing to experiment more, even fail if need be, rather than wait for long, protracted 6-month development efforts that incorporate all the bells and whistles required to support the enterprise environment such as security, privacy, and compliance. Smith said, “That takes time, and [LOBs are] willing to take certain risks.” What I loved about Smith’s early discussions with IBM customers was the interest level about what was possible in the enterprise. He expressed the sentiment that customers want information to be “mashable, remixable…” that they started looking at their data as modular assets– using it in ways they hadn’t planned for. One example yielded an unexpected result when a mashup uncovered shipping information that helped a global distribution company combat piracy on the high seas.

After Smith and Barnes were done keynoting and introducing, for some reason, they made us all wear white lab coats (question mark?) and we self-sectioned off into three breakout sessions focused on each of the three main areas: collaboration, mashups, and IT integration with web 2.0 (my interpretation). I attended the first and the last, as I was having a private demo of QEDWiki in a few days. The collaboration session drew a mix of IBMers, customers, and partners. Questions ranged from, “How do I get people in my company to collaborate with these new tools?” to “How can we get access to data buried deep inside those web2.0-soulless mainframes?” Okay, well that was me asking that question. I had the good fortune to be sitting next to a veteran IBMer who said it IS possible to layer on interfaces to get access to all data in the enterprise so folks can collaborate on just about anything. The question then became– how willing would IT be to let the whole company have open and free access to that data? And round and round we went…

On the IT software integration session, my BSG colleagues were particularly engaged. IBM has packaged its offerings under the bundle, “Info 2.0.” It’s basically an integrated suite of technologies that enable the creation of mashable content. At present, I believe it includes what they’re currently calling DAMIA which transforms content into syndication feeds, the Mashup Hub where you discover, catalog, tag feeds for remixing and then syndicate content and then finally, QEDWiki which I’ve blogged about before and will later. They also have something called Ms. Rita (lovely Rita, “meter maid” in a too short uniform skirt that will never fly with corporate branding IMHO; sheesh, boys!) which is a configurable “utilization management service” to meter, monitor, and monetize web 2.0 an SOA components, applications or environments. Miss Rita (or, whatever) will probably not be available in the first release of the Info 2.0 announcement, not sure why. One fairly cool IBM application in beta right now is Many Eyes. Check it out for a free trial. If you want to see some of these tools in action check out some of these demos, podcasts, and videos.

Blogger transparency dictates that I confess I’m not qualified to comment on the technical intricacies of IBM’s foray into web 2.0, but I give Big Blue huge points for promoting web 2.0 in the enterprise. Like SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft, IBM has something the startups do not: a massive installed base. Even if only IBM puts some massive marketing muscle behind evangelizing, I kind of don’t care if their solutions and approach are a yawner. My sense is, they are serious about this sector for interesting economic motives that may possibly not be obvious to us right now. For instance, did it ever occur to anyone that “the cloud” is not really a cloud at all? Is IBM viewing the 2.0 transformation as an opportunity to reap big benefits from big iron? Just food for thought. Here are two pieces to ponder– one from the WSJ, one from CIO insight.

A few days after the seminar, I had the chance to revisit with Dan Gisolfi to see what he’s been up to lately with QEDWiki. Dan has teamed up with John Musser of Programmable Web. I will have more on that later this week, maybe tomorrow, as well as a report from an interesting meeting I attended with the local Social Media Club here in Austin.

Posted in AJAX, conferences, Enterprise 2.0, Enterprise Mashups, Irregulars, mashups, Office 2.0, SAP, SOA, Social Media, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Enterprise vendors start beating the drum

Just a Footnote on SAP’s SDN

Posted by Susan Scrupski on April 30, 2007

I tried twice to post a comment on Jerry Bowles’ blog on his site and on the Enterprise Irregulars’ site and was unsuccessful. Since I don’t have time to keep fooling around with the software, I will post a link to Jerry’s post today here. Back from Sapphire, Jerry posted on how SAP is getting enterprise 2.0. religion citing among a few things, the SDN network and Harmony, its internal HR web platform, which I was getting around to writing about myself.

On the SDN network, Jerry writes:

The granddaddy of these communities–the SAP Developer Network (SDN)–has grown from 340,000 members in 2005 to more than 750,000 today. (SDN has its own “evangelist,” Craig Cmehil.) The Business Process community (BPX) was launched in the third quarter of 2006 and already has more than 100,000 members. Both have proven to be invaluable resources and converted even the most skeptical oldtimers to the belief that there may be something to this Enterprise 2.0 business afterall.

What I wanted to communicate to Jerry was this:

Hi Jerry. So wishing I had gone to Sapphire! It’s good to hear that SAP is getting religion on enterprise 2.0. It’s worth noting, however, that the SAP Developer Network is run on a Confluence Wiki (Atlassian). I’m pretty sure about this, although I’m sure someone will correct me fairly quickly if I’m wrong. Even a technology giant like SAP with its billion dollar R&D budget can benefit from innovation at the edge from a couple of college kids who started a company on a credit card a few years ago. I just couldn’t resist the irony.

Posted in blogs, Enterprise 2.0, ERP, Irregulars, SAP, Social Media, Wikis | 9 Comments »

ERP Celebrity Gossip

Posted by Susan Scrupski on January 12, 2007

Happy New Year All– I’ve taken a brief blogging hiatus, but now I’m back. Yesterday, I received my invite to attend one of the scheduled Sapphire events and thought I’d better get up to speed on SAP.

I was flipping the pages of a recent Forbes issue and saw this titillating brief: “How to Succeed in Business.” (The article is short, so I’ll post it here because you have to pay for it at Forbes.com if you’re not a subscriber.)

From Forbes, January 8, 2007:

Speculation’s swirling in Silicon Valley over who’s in the line of succession at SAP (nyse: SAPnews people ), the third-largest software company worldwide. Current Chief Henning Kagermann’s contract expires at the end of 2007. Per SAP policy, Kagermann has to say by April whether he’ll stay or go. Bets are on a departure. Insiders say the former physics professor has told SAP Chairman Hasso Plattner he won’t renew. Kagermann has two presidents jockeying for his position–and you don’t want to be caught between them.

Leo Apotheker, 53, runs sales, marketing and operations from SAP’s base in Walldorf, Germany. The German-born, no-nonsense executive helped ensure SAP’s 6.5% annual sales growth the past five years.

Apotheker’s competition is Shai Agassi, who runs technology strategy and development out of Palo Alto, Calif. At age 7 the Israeli was programming on punch cards. In 2001, at 32, he sold his software firm TopTier to SAP for $400 million. A year later he joined SAP’s executive board, the youngest member by more than a decade and the only non-German.

The two contenders have been subtly trying to trip each other in the race to the top. One former strategist for SAP says Apotheker, in executive meetings, has been frequently lamenting the pace of technology development and tells his best salespeople to let Kagermann know when the software isn’t good enough to sell (a sure shot against Agassi’s efforts). Agassi is rumored to be including Kagermann on upbeat progress e-mails to his staff, a change from the past. Insiders say Apotheker will win. If so, Agassi would be ripe for poaching, says tech headhunter Mel D. Connet.

My question for SAP fans (and foes) is if, in fact, either two of these execs are the finalists for Kagermann’s succession, how will the global company change under the new leadership? Those of you who are familiar with the personalities of these two individuals– what philosophical differences do they bring to the helm that may change the culture or strategic direction for SAP?

 

 

Posted in ERP, SAP | 1 Comment »