Dinner with SAP customers and a old friend

At Sapphire I had the pleasure to be invited to dinner by Mark Ingram. I used to work with Mark at SAP, but he moved on pastures new.  Mark runs the talent management practice at ERP-Solutions, an SAP HR solutions implementation company.

Attending the dinner were folks from Mass Mutual, Rio Tinto, Eli Lily, Intervoice and SAP. All of them are currently implementing the SAP talent management solution, so it was great to listen to how their projects are going. The product is competitive now, and of course meeting a successful safe passage customer is always a pleasure!

I passed the ipod nano and microphone around the dinner table for everyone to introduce themselves. You can listen here if you like. (warning lots of restaurant noise etc)

It is also good to talk with partners. It is a great barometer of the market. The SAP partner ecosystem isn’t just about the huge SIs. Often it is the smaller and mid size firms that have specific deep product and domain expertise.  Mark’s team are doing a fine job of implementing the talent management solution, and have successful side lines in building composites that sit on top of SAP and in migrating PeopleSoft HR data into SAP HR. (Mark tell us more about them please)

In the HR space, the smaller and midsize firms are thriving.  Actually the whole SAP HR consulting space is really booming at the moment, so the bigger firms are acquiring the smaller ones. The upgrade to mySAP ERP 2005 (I mean ERP 6.0) means that there is a lot of cool new HR stuff to put in. The interest in Duet is growing too.

Mike from Rio Tinto is probably still laughing at my cricket prediction.

Don from Intervoice is a Texan cattle breeder as well as the HR SVP, so I let him advise me on the steak. We had a good chat about HR analytics too. I’d like to follow this up further.

LaShonda has been implementing talent management for several years, we talked about consulting and the learning solution.

I’d not seen David Ludlow from SAP for a while. He was involved with the Adobe stuff, so I’ll need to get back to him and figure out more about how that will improve our learning solution offering.

Frank from SAP Australia was at the other end of the table so we didn’t chat much. He is running the self service implementation at Rio Tinto. I also missed talking to Scott from Eli Lilly. In 2000 the start up I founded  was about exactly what he discusses on the microphone pass around. Timing is everything I guess.

Bill and Sean from MassMutual  discussed how HR and IT can work better together.  We talked about getting HR buy-in, and agreed that one of the best quick wins is very early on in the project to build an exec dashboard prototype. When the executives see what they could get out of the system, it tends to focus the project.

I’d recommend Bones to anyone wanting a top class steak in Atlanta. The service was excellent, and the prime-rib simply delicious. Thanks Mark for the invite.


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2 thoughts on “Dinner with SAP customers and a old friend”

  1. Thomas – Pleasure to meet you at Sapphire. My invitation to dinner must have gotten lost under my hotel door!

    At the risk of being controversial, I’m not sure I, nor many others in the the market, would agree with your statement that “the [talent management] product is competitive right now”.

    I would agree it has come a long way but to suggest it is on par with the functionality and TCO of many best of breed is not accurate. Will SAP get there? Of course. The fact of the matter is that we are in the early days of talent management.

    I think people are “acquiring” SAPs talent management products (I’m not saying buying because that is not the case with many of the products such as performance and comp) for reasons outside of deep functionality today.
    Just one man’s opinion.

  2. Jason,
    I’d deliberately said competitive, not functional parity.

    There is still alot to do, but the fact that folks like Mark and others are doing excellent business in the SAP talent management space means that we are competitive. Are there gaps-sure, do I wish we would move more quickly, damn right.

    HR is a space ripe for smart partners to build composites too. I’d love to see more will designed integrations on top of SAP talent management…

    This could be a dinner in its own right….

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