Dennis has a go at my Chairman and CEO….

Dennis posted about Kagermann’s interview with the FT. I normally like to read Dennis’ musings. He is acerbic, controversial and very well informed. He knows lots about accounting stuff.  I didn’t like this post at all though.

Dennis if this was a few centuries ago, I’d have to call you out at dawn, your choice of weapons, for insulting my good leader !-)


Instead, I’ll post this…..

Dennis wrote: 

Now I KNOW he doesn’t read my blog but for the benefit of all you SAPpers out there that do – have a whip round and please give Henning a new telescope

1. Kagermann may well read your blog. A number of your posts have been picked up by the press search (it has a section “from the blogsphere”), which execs and others subscribe to. This is called “early bird” and normally arrives in my email first thing. Typically this will pick up key announcements about SAP competitors and the state of the market. (it isnt a RSS feed, but hey it works, and with a  blackberry optimised version)

2. Winweb looks really interesting. But I had a bit of a look at the free bit on the site. One user, very limited functionality. hmmm. very free. like toy in cornflakes free.

 Dennis goes on to mock this…

“You influence people less by talking to them,” he (Kagermann) says of running SAP, “than through what you do.”

Doing things is always important but Henning: – ever heard of the idea that markets are conversations? Oh well. Can someone double up that request and get a pair of binoculars as well? And could tech support fix Henning’s laptop with Technorati as the home page? Or maybe fix him up with an RSS reader with all the SAP bloggers in it. Classic cluelessness.

3. Kagerman is merely stating actions speak louder than words, and he is right. I buy all the conversation marketing cluetrain stuff, but there is a big difference between conversation and talking. Kagermann is probably the best listener in the business. I like working in company that has a CEO that listens more than he talks, and does stuff without always shouting about it. When Kagermann says something I believe him, and that goes for 99,9% of the folks here… Stick that on your cluetrain.

4. The cluetrain site you linked is somesort of “clever” search site with thousands of pop ups, I narrowly avoided a big dose of spyware. (please remove the link)  the famous “read only” landmark is also unavailable. is up, and is the best example anywhere of a software company “in conversion”, at least according to James. 

Seconds, step back….

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7 thoughts on “Dennis has a go at my Chairman and CEO….”

  1. Thomas – I have a huge amount of respect for Henning – I think you know that but I couldn’t let this one go. Maybe the irony didn’t travel well.

    I’ve read the whole FT thing and it does worry me that Henning is reported to be less than Internet savvy. I’m sure that’s not entirely true but hey – you play with the cards that you get dealt.

    Of course actions speak louder than words (my friend David Tebbutt picks up on this very well) but then if you don’t tell anyone then how do you proliferate the message to where it matters? Betamax comes to mind. Sony comes to mind. Not that I’m putting SAP in that camp but you get my drift I’m sure.

    WinWeb is meant for VSBs and provides ‘good enough’ functionality for the market it serves and is ICAEW certified – the only SaaS offering out there that is at the moment. That means a lot to influencers. It may not be SAPs market but it exists and is doing well. Sandhill picks up on the ‘good enough’ meme.

    Thanks for the Cluetrain link thing. I’ll fix that. Apologies to anyone who thinks I was trying to spam them.

    The last time he and I met, I was a lot more ‘robust’ (we were talking about mySAP pricing resistance) and he was gracious, humble in his approach but above all a listener prepared to openly discuss facts. Just as he was with Niel at SAPPHIRE06. Who else can we say that about?

    And finally – if I’ve offended – then apologies.

  2. come on thomas- i read the Henning piece as well, and thought some of the comments lacked context.

    on accounting free on the web issue, for example- winweb is one, while Exact software is also offering free limited function accounting software for free in the netherlands.

    i am not sure about “like toy in cornflakes” free, and certainly henning offered no qualification, as far as the interview reported.

    He could have said – we’re seeing v small accounting packages available on the web for free, but obviously SAP has a very different model. but that is not what he said.

    is delicious a toy? is google a toy? is flickr a toy? are any number of useful online services toys? i would say no- they are are useful services.

    when the CEO of an accounting software company (OK SAP is obviously more than financials, but…) says it will take a while for something to happen, but its *already* happening in some segments of the market, is it any wonder the market asks strong questions concerning the claim.

    Now is not the time for complacence in the packaged software market. not when sales are flattening

    and especially not when the low end is seen as a potential growth market.

    that said – check out the intriguing Ovum quote in the VNU story. Did Henning really admit losing deals to Oracle and Microsoft?

    ‘For the first time, chief executive Henning Kagermann had to admit market share losses to arch rivals Oracle and Microsoft,’ said Ovum analyst Cornelia Wels-Maug

    finally i should say I am not sure your call for pistols at dawn is completely on the mark. Dennis started by using he word humour, didn’t he?

  3. James—Dennis
    1. I do use wordpress. trackbacks are iffy things—-

    2. My point on free software bit is that it isnt a business model based on free, but on getting enough people to start with it and then “upgrade” to the paying version. At least from my reading of the site.

    The toy analogy was misleading I guess, my focus was on the definition of free not on toy.

    Eventually software companies need to be profitable, even SaaS ones. Google and flickr is are not free, just not paid for by the person doing the search. Maybe we need a model where the auditors and the accountants buy the software and let us have it for free.

    3. Full results come out later this week, so we can comment then. I wasnt on the analyst call.

    4.Hillarious was the word he used.. I’ve lived in Germany for too long, so don’t do irony so well anymore.

  4. Thomas – as a VSB – which would you prefer, something you can try/use at zero cost or something that requires a tax? If you like what you see and believe the additional services have value, then isn’t that a price worth paying? And if you find yourself disappointed, do you not think it is nice to simply walk away – no harm done?

    Sounds compelling to me but then it’s NOT an enterprise play where the market dynamics are very different.

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