I agree with Vinnie on something. shock horror gasp

I have just got back from Sapphire Europe. I was only there for the first day, had several customer meetings, a great lunch with Les Hayman and James Farrar (more about that on another post), had an excellent session with Amit Chatterjee and his team about GRC (governance risk and compliance), saw a super presentation about the SAP talent management implementation at KBC Bank and then later had a couple of glasses of bubbly with the GRC gang and then a steaktatar for dinner. I managed to see some partner and SAP folks too. All in all a busy day.

Sapphire though is a bit too much marketingspeak for me.  It reminds me more than a little of what G.B Shaw said when he declined an invite to speak at a vegetarian convention."The thought of a 1000 people simultaneously crunching celery terrifies me"

I agree with Vinnie that there is too much SOA talk at the moment. It is a tad theoretical, abstract, metaphorical and technical for me. I should leave that to James and the my birkie mates.

 I studied a fair bit of philosophy at university, and Immanuel Kant is easier to figure out than some of the SOA stuff. We are talking too much about the technology and not enough about the applications the technology helps create.

CIOs might buy and love technology, but I still believe business people buy applications. They want to eat the meal, not just read the cook book. 

I think we need to start moving back to messaging that resonates with business people. Governance, Risk Compliance business unit is a step in the right direction. I reckon we need to do more of this sort of thing- focus on the business issue.

Build teams of people who really understand the business issues, and deliver solutions to address the business challenge. You can only do this if you understand the business issues in depth, only then can the technology help. The combination of  Virsa  and some key from core ERP will make for a compelling foundation.

It was nice to see a big HR (sorry Human Capital management with mySAP(tm) ERP powered by SAP Netweaver) deal announced. the Bank of India

MUMBAI, India and PARIS, France – May 30, 2006 – May 30, 2006 — SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) today announced that the State Bank of India (SBI), India’s largest commercial bank, selected mySAP™ ERP to automate and seamlessly integrate its human capital management (HCM) processes across State Bank Group, part of the bank’s efforts to transform its operations and prepare for future growth. The enterprise resource planning (ERP) application from SAP would serve State Bank Group’s global strength of more than 370,000 employees and retirees, making it one of the largest HCM implementations in the banking industry globally

Well done to Amit Avasthi and his HR team in India did a fab job on this one.

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6 thoughts on “I agree with Vinnie on something. shock horror gasp

  1. Thomas, I read a number of the related posts (vinnie and the other one from the SAP guy in Palo Alto) and then I came back to yours. Your point is really on target.

    It’s a problem with technology in general – boiling down the message to “what’s in it for me?” to each audience.

    Vinnie sounds skeptical in any companies motives (simply to find new ways to create more revenue – which, btw, is really the purpose of any company, isn’t it?). I still like to (Idealistically) believe that SAP is trying to offer the smartest approach for its clients. They (SAP) just don’t always communicate it well.

    I was thinking that “audience focused communication” like you described in your one comment

    I just show them Mendocino etc. . .and they say ‘I’ll take that’. . .(my paraphrase)

    is what wins. I always think it’s common sense, but few are able to see SOA, SAP, ESA, etc in the eyes of the customer. They (the customer) just want to do their job better and improve their own company’s bottom line. Show them that in a clear, concise manner and they will keep saying “I’ll take that.”

    Congrats on the Bank of India win.

  2. but SOA *is* a philosophy… its not about sandals and gorp.

    the Kant point is apposite. once you get the categorical imperative, its really very simple. until you have that realisation though, you don’t know what he’s on about. SOA is like that.

    by all means talk to shared services-that is a compelling business discussion overpinning SOA..

    but please don’t accuse me of only dorking out – i recently wrote about the problem of analysts and leaky abstractions. practitioners are more interesting and important than analysts or your birkie wearers. but i think i am happy in both environments.

  3. James,
    first up excuse the long metaphor I’m about to unleash…

    When I present SAP software to a customer, I sometimes imagine that I’m a restaurant owner (say if I’m feeling cheerful and bouncy, Jamie Oliver, if I’m miffed and havent had enough sleep then gordon Ramsay)

    I then work out who I’m speaking to. Is it is the head cook, or is it a diner.

    If I’m talking to the cook, I’ll use lots of complex french terms, and be detailed about how many carrots are needed and exactly how to chop them up, and which bit of the cow goes where.

    If I’m talking to a diner, I’ll be using a very different language to describe the same thing. It will be simpler, more tactile, more sensory. I will mention the ‘jus, but I won’t explain how to make it, unless asked.

    When talking to business folks, on the menu today we have.
    1. radically reduced cost of owership
    2. much faster deployment
    3. Dramatically easier and friender user experience
    4. the right processes for the job
    5. tremendous flexibilty to change
    6. stuff that chats to other peoples stuff and listens back.

    Duet and Muse are great news because they dramatically improve the user experience, not because they are SOA based developments.

    imho: At the moment SAP is talking too much recipe and not enough menu. It is as if we explain how we cut up the cow, even if the person in the room is a veggie wanting the mushroom risotto.

    BTW, I’m not accusing you of dorking out, merely that you are off to an SOA conference. I wonder what Kant would have made of reboot vs SOA?

    the categorical imperative was the easy bit of Kant.

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