The cardboard spaceship and thingamy

At the risk of doing one of those I found this on fred's blog which linked to mary's blog which linked to john's blog which linked to the guy from Footloose….

By a rather long and winding road I discovered Hamish's blog where, amongst other things he discusses Thingamy. (Hamish calls himself a geek, but he has been known to shop extensively on Jermyn Street in his SAP UK Eagle house days which does dent his geekdom claim somewhat). His blog is a fine read.

I'm intrigued by thingamy. Without having seen it I'll dangerously and arrogantly agree with Hamish that it isn't an SAP killer.  Sig seems to agree too. That doesn't mean there isn't a market for what he wants to do. 

It does raise an interesting point though. What should a software start up in the enterprise space be aiming at doing?  I'm not convinced that building most apps, especially ERP ones, from scratch today makes sense, no matter how profoundly brilliant the tool is or may be. To test this model I'd suggest applying the rumplestiltskin test. Lock up the Thingamy or any other tool team and only let them out when they have a compliant Polish payroll, or a room full of gold silk. (Polish payroll would probably take longer) That sounds trite but most of what ERP applications do is boring, complex stuff. Companies do this stuff, not because they want to, but because a lawmaker, auditor, union or some regulatory authority demands it. 

I think we will see a lot more interesting innovation on top of ERP platforms. I think much of  it will be with SAP tools, such as visual composer, but the market will decide. Anyway Netweaver is all about ending the  "But it's a bit like in school – the big boys do not want to be friends with the little boys even if the little boys wants to be their friend." mentality that Sig mentions, and it seems to be working. I think the hot space will be in mixing existing applications with new ones, whats called composite apps at SAP. This business process innovation is what keeps SAP on its toes, and it is where the main R&D spend is going. SAP's CEO makes some good points here.

I'd look at Virsa (I've blogged about them before) and Redwood as examples of "little boys" that SAP is friends with. This ecosystem thingy is really important to SAP, so companies that ride that wave may not end up being so little. (update: SAP acquired Virsa yesterday)

Sig has a passion and vision for what he wants to do. I wish him luck. I'd love to have a bike ride sometime somewhere hilly and warm, as long as he has lots of patience.

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12 thoughts on “The cardboard spaceship and thingamy”

  1. Thomas,

    …and I found you through Hamish’s blog!

    Don’t worry (as if you should!) – would not bother spend time to illude being an anything killer, we’re merely doing something… ehhh… quite different? And letting the market do the innovation… hint, hint…

    Would be cool to bump it off you though – mail me, and if SAP allows VNC to work within your network I’d love to show you some very simple stuff (no Polish payroll though, merely some few bike parts 😉

  2. Ouch Thomas, unfair to give such links to bike-geeks, now my Hyperions seems heavy! Hmmm… a set of Ventoux or a couple of features in thingamy… oh, such hard choices on a sunny Thursday morning… 😀

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