My cycling compadre Sig is no friend of Hierarchies, but most us in the corporate world are faced with them everyday. Any tool that can make hierarchies more visible, transparent and usable is goodness, so it was good to see Techcrunch feature Orgplus from Human Concepts recently.
It’s always a little weird when a stodgy-sounding task goes all Web 2.0. Case in point, creating organizational charts. Software vendor Human Concepts makes OrgPlus, the go-to app for such an activity and OrgPlus Live is the new Web-based version of said software. Don’t think you need org charts? Well, maybe it’s just that you don’t know any better.
In my early days at SAP I was a consultant for the organisation management product. (2.2f and 3.0 for those consulting sorts reading this) The product could do all sorts of neat things, but could it display a decent org chart. Nope.
Well, after a while some enterprising folks decided that charting add-ons to SAP was a good business to be in. A couple of firms got together with SAP consulting partners and built integration to SAP PD to do really cool and fancy charting. Charting tools become powerful if they visualise business data. I’m not a big fan of re-entering data for the sake of a nice chart, but if you can drive it off your real-time transactional systems then this is goodness. Here more details on the Orgplus integration.
Initially this was tolerated rather than supported here in Walldorf. Thankfully, things have changed. Over the last couple of years, especially with Netweaver, this sort of integration has got a whole lot easier, both technically and politically. We delivered a standard interface via XML that allows any charting vendor to do their thing. Lots of neat portal integration too. Also programmes now exist for this sort of partnership, and attitudes are changing too.
If you are interested in charting your evil hierarchies then check out orgpublisher and Nakisa as well. Another partner has also done some interesting stuff with Visio. Here is an example from Orgpublisher, with HR and Financials integration.
This is a good example of how SAP is changing and how it needs to change more. If a third party vendor does something better than we do, we should embrace and help them. Make it easy for them to succeed. Connect them with our customers and deliver a better allround solution. Make it simple for customers to find these solutions in the first place, and implement them quickly and safely. The powered by Netweaver initiative is a move in the right direction, but there is more to be done if we want to encourage a thriving ecosystem of ISVs.