ASUG, Sapphire, geeks and phoenixes?

A big part of Sapphire and ASUG Conference ( Americas SAP user group) is about connecting people.

There is an excellent podcast here  from searchSAP.com  with the ASUG chairman, Rod Masney. Listen to what he has to say about ASUG and Sapphire, influence councils, executive exchanges, the role of the user, what would you ask Kagermann, ERP 2005 upgrade velocity, SME myths, local chapters, grassroots, Shai’s departure, outside in development, ASUG-SAP relationship….but the quote that stuck with me from Rod was  “SAP wants to hear the voice of the customer.”  Things are by no means perfect, but the tone is overwhelmingly positive.

Dennis Howlett recently passed judgement rendered a view on SAP’s community efforts in his Phoenix trilogy.

SAP has SDN. This is a thriving community of developers. They’re passionate about code. IMO a few at least are in the wrong place. I’ve previously mentioned Eddie Herrmann and Dan McWeeney. I’d also count Craig Cmehil. These guys are geeks but they understand making a difference to business. They should be on the business side of the house with firm links to the code warriors. The reason for that while SAP has a business community, it is a million miles away from the goodness you see at SDN. What SAP is doing is demonstrating a massive commitment to engineering. Not people.

Craig from SDN responded here, and Marilyn Pratt, one of the folks passionately driving the business process expert network  BPX responded on her SDN-BPX blog. I quote…

Hmmm….Great tribute to some of our heroes… but what’s all this about “wrong place”?

…I then continue reading and it stings me to the core: The point seems to be that SAP should have a business community like SDN:

I’d like to propose that we SAP folks obey Dennis’ advice.

Of course SAP must defend itself. But do it from a position of customer focused intellectual high ground. Get those conversations going.

So Dennis, Rod, Craig and Marilyn – how about meeting at Sapphire?  The Sunday afternoon ASUGBPX networking session , would have been ideal,  but  I think Dennis and I will still be in the air somewhere over Greenland. I’m also looking forward to meeting BPXer Cheryl from Intel, so perhaps we can all get together sometime in the week. I sense a great conversation and at least a couple of podcasts.

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3 thoughts on “ASUG, Sapphire, geeks and phoenixes?

  1. I’d not like to think I was ‘passing judgment’ and if that’s the impression then it’s wrong. More like rendering a view.

    I do have specific issues with BPX but those can be the subject of a separate discussion.

    You beat me to the punch – there’s an email flying around on that very matter – even as we speak.

  2. Even “I” didn’t think Dennis was passing judgement on BPX but rather was either unaware of its existence or else reflecting “a perception” which properly forces us to generate “more customer intellectual highground”. So thanks, Dennis for bringing this to more public light. And you Thomas for the proposal we all meet at Sapphire. Their will be a “Communities of Innovation Pod” which is a place I think I will reside in pretty constantly. I am very much looking forward to meeting with you all there.

  3. Marilyn – I am aware of BPX and have visited it – but as I say, I have issues with that part of the SAP community. More than happy to discuss. Thomas has access to my Google Calendar -:)

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