May 2006


I've watched a bit of the US sapphire via SAP TV. you can do the same if you register at sap.com.

So far, the most interesting bit was the ADP cameo in Leo's keynote. check it out. ADP's CEO elect, Gary Butler posed the question "why are SAP and ADP working together?"   dont they compete in the HR space?  

 Well, the answer is the offering GlobalView. This combines SAP's HCM and CRM solutions with ADP service delivery. good stuff. This isnt just an announcement about future plans to work together. ADP have invested over 50 million dollars setting up the architecture and getting templates etc in order, and will invest another 50 million over the next two years to expand the service to more than 50 countries.

The payment model is novel, as you only pay when you go live. Also they have 50 major mulitnationals signed upto to this already, with over 500 000 employees! (Microsoft, AHOLD, NCR, CISCO, Unisys, Celestica, EMC….)   

The model works for the customer, they pay for a service when it goes live and as they consume it. ADP can focus on service, not trying to build software. It works for SAP, as the customer is on an SAP platform, and we have a new revenue stream.  It wasnt easy putting this deal together, and both ADP and SAP had to change a lot of internal doubters to drive it through. Our BPO team have done a great job in aligning the goto market and our sales organisation too (there is even a BPO safe passage option).  The guy who ran the  SAP EMEA HR business, Phillip Booth, is driving the relationship from the SAP side. ADP are really scaling up on this too.

Does this shake up the BPO space. You bet.  Hewitt is the odd one out still clinging to the venerable Cyborg. ACS, Convergys, Arinso are all in the SAP boat. I think this shows a lot of HR thought leadership from SAP. 

BPO is here to stay. SAP gets it. What is Oracle's BPO story? Anyone? I'd be interested to see what the other HR tech and BPO bloggers have to say on this one, Dubs, Human Capitalist, Vinnie…..?  

IBM have announced Harmony. "I'd like to teach the world to sing" will probably be coming to a Software conference near you soon. eeek. For those companies that have a strong lotus notes culture, the IBM play makes a lot of sense. Bringing SAP to more users is good for SAP. (avoided the notes-harmony pun as it would have been a bit flat)

Building new interfaces to SAP isn't a new game, but it has got a whole lot easier. With Netweaver, SAP did a lot of work to "decouple" application logic and the presentation logic. Customers are starting to benefit from this technical change. We are moving rapidly to a multi-UI world.

Duet and Harmony are two big plays that take advantage of this, but I expect to see a lot more. Already, blackberrys and other mobile devices are creating new ways to work with SAP. I'm hearing about all sorts of cool stuff with the latest voice technologies. There will be a lot more UI innovation taking place on top of the the SAP platform, and this is good for the customer. If 3M could develop a post-it version, I'd demo it tomorrow. 

I'm not convinced that the world needs to run in a browser either. I'm reminded of a piece that I read from Alan Cooper. in the distant past of 2001 he said.

The browser is a red herring; it's a dead end. The idea of having batched processing inside a very stupid program that's controlled remotely is a software architecture that was invented about 25 years ago by IBM, and was abandoned about 20 years ago because it's a bad architecture. We've gone tremendously retrograde by bringing in Web browsers. Now we have an infinite variety of computers all around the world and an infinite variety of remote sites all around the world. That's the power. And the power would be greater and the capabilities would be three orders of magnitude greater if we could get rid of this old, stupid, stinking technology of browsers. We have stepped backward in terms of user interface, capability, and the breadth of our thinking about what we could do as a civilization. The browser is a very weak and stupid program because it was written as essentially a master's thesis inside a university and as an experiment. Internet Explorer is nothing more than a master's thesis program.

put that in the the web 2.0 pipe and smoke it.

UPDATE:

Josh Greenbaum provides a view on IBM's strategy. Check it out here.

Charlie  Jeff and  others have mentioned that Duet has miffed off some of the folks from Microsoft business systems (see here). Any significant alliance is going to upset part of a big business.

Oracle Application presales guys get really upset because more SAP applications run on Oracle databases than do Oracle applications. 

At SAP we have a lot of discussions about how Duet and the Portal work together and overlap. The guys who built the calendar feature in the SAP portal probably don't like Duet either.  I dont think we have all the answers yet.

For me, the interesting thing about Duet is not the product.

Okay, Yes, it does all that bringing SAP apps to the familiar desktop of the user etc, but Outlook has been arounds for aeons. SAP has been doing employee self service since the mid 1990s, we have sold over 13 million ESS users.

What is interesting to me,

1. It is a joint development. SAP developers and Microsoft developers working on the same product, together. In joint teams. SAP's dev lead on this is one of our best.

2. It will be sold and marketed by both companies.

The second point here is going to be key. How will we and Microsoft go to market, how will the Microsoft salesforce line up behind Duet? In the "early" accounts where I have been involved, I've seen strong colaboration between MSFT and SAP teams.

 If I was a top sales guy at MSFT, what would I rather be selling 

I have realised that if you have a blog, it is compulsory to write a post about the book "the world is flat."  I read the book on the plane flying to home to South Africa from Germany last month. It was a good read, if a tad repetitive, and occasionally naive, and a lot of it reads like basic common sense.

The flight was made interesting by the guy I sat next to. He is an artist from Mozambique, Mankew Mahumnana, and he had just come from an exhibition in Germany. I have no portuguese, he had little english or german, so we communicated in zulu. I say communicate, because my zulu is very very very  shabby, but somehow we got on well. His art is really cool stuff.

 

He drew me a picture in the back of my world is flat book, and signed it. I now want to get him to do something for my lounge at home.

The world is flat. I meet an artist from mozambique on a plane and hopefully he will  do something for my lounge in Germany.

While wading and wallowing through the best part of three weeks email, I picked up on an internal announcement about SAP and Lego. My priotisation skills being what they are, I read it and decided to post it so that you could read it too. 

Lego has come along way since I was a boy….funny how now it is used by almost everyone to describe software architectures…I'm not sure Lego deserves this treatment.

Anyway, SAP employees volunteer time to coach kids to build robots, and these kids then enter a competition. The best ones go through to a international competition. The SAP sponsored and supported teams did really well. see link here

FLL: SAP Teams Clean Up!

Six SAP-sponsored FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams qualified for the finals of the international robot competition FLL Challenge 2005 in Atlanta, Georgia and Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

The winners have been chosen, and once again the SAP teams got the edge on the competition. The SAP All Stars from Germany received the coveted Innovative Robot Award, as well as commendation for their professionalism. "The SAP All Stars perform the art of engineering at its highest level. We didn't see the BMW logo on the front of the robot, but we're certain that BMW would have loved the design," an impressed member of the jury said.

The Japanese team SAP Edison, as well as SAP Eleven, gave a convincing performance on account of their exemplary teamwork. They received a commendation for the excellent programming of their robot. The Alliance Award went to SAP Marine against Pollution from Paris. The jury was impressed by the teenagers' effective cooperation with three other teams. Furthermore, the members of the SAP Light Bird team from Japan were notworthy for the exemplary presentation of their ideas and their good cooperation. The Leimbach SAPmarines were also successful in the finals.

The FIRST LEGO League is an international robot competition for children and teenagers between the ages of 10 and 16. The goal of the event is to get the "generations of tomorrow" interested in science and technology. SAP employees across the world are encouraged to act as mentors and coaches for the FIRST LEGO League in helping interested children and teenagers in individual project teams. In September 2005, teams started preparing for the competition, with the theme "Ocean Odyssey." Eighty-five teams with a total of more than 170 SAP employees from 19 countries took part in the initiative. A total of about 7,000 FLL teams participated worldwide.

Anything that makes kids take an interest in technology is a good thing.  

Lego is an SAP customer. They threw out Oracle a while ago. thought I ought to mention that in passing….

This is my first day back at work for nearly 3 weeks  (thank you german labour law). more about that in another post once I have been through the email torrent. It was weird not accessing the web or the blogsphere for this time. no doubt there will be much to a catch up on. I will watch the sapphire blogging thingy that Jeff has arranged with interest

Mendocino is now called Duet. (hmmmm).  It is better than  mysapmicrosoftoutlookintegration2007poweredbynetweaver.com, but as my mate  phillip noted it does have more than a tinge of Kenny Rogers to it.

I have presented it to several customers over the past six months. It does hit the right note. (aaaah)

The website though, is great. Check it out  (see if you can see the mac in the demo!) 

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