(Written on the flight to Atlanta, updated in the lobby of the Westin hotel..)
I have been meaning to write about Shai’s Agassi’s new blog for a while, and Dennis linking to it earlier reminded me (thanks). I’m glad Shai is blogging, but it is a pity that he wasn’t writing like this while he was at SAP. His blog then was not something he really focused on. He posted occasionally, but I’m not even sure if it was his voice.
What Dennis didn’t pick up is that Shai is also posting on SDN, Several of his new posts (crossposted on SDN and his blog) discuss SAP and ERP, and I’m struck by his obvious commitment and passion for SAP. Despite not getting the top job, and leaving SAP, he is still batting firmly in our corner. Take a look at this excerpt. Stripped of marketing dressing, he articulates SAP strategy clearly in a couple of paragraphs. The post is titled the missing Sapphire presentation.
So what were those three axis of innovation?
– The first and most fundamental one is the functionality axis – the one which SAP was built around for the better part of its first 30 years. SAP programmers define themselves by the transactional modules they have built over the years, and they continue to evolve and drive those modules from the key genome of transactional process understanding so unique to SAP.
– The second axis introduced a few years ago around the formation of NetWeaver is that of openness or platform. We had to make two key decisions around the platform-ing of the mySAP suite – one around the technology infrastructure (in particular should we buy from someone or should we build our own), and the other (much tougher) one – should we document our engines through Web-Services in ways that will enable smaller ISVs build solutions that target our core Suite accounts
– The last one, a fairly new effort that started a couple of years ago, revolved around the simplification of SAP. That whole effort revolved around simplifying the consumption of our solutions in ways that would eliminate waste, or as I called it “SAP Tax”. The thought process was fairly simple – find places where people had to perform tasks that did not provide direct business value and eliminate them through better design or better packaging of the products.
– The x-factor was the eco-system effort that we drove in earnest since 2004. The thought process was one rooted in the conviction that if we get a great collection of enterprise applications around SAP that can bring value to the customer, plug to the platform, complete the processes that were in the long tail of processes for each enterprise, without adding complexity we will get a true win-win-win relationship and all boats will rise with the rising tide. We saw that happening at a much faster speed than we originally hoped.
It is high time that we had a committed senior executive blogger at SAP. Until then, I guess a former senior executive will have to do. hmmm.