This week I was involved a long and intensive presales process. I had the easy bit, kicking off the day and wrapping things up at the end. The SAP UK team did a fabulous job of demoing the complex reality that is payroll and core HR for an organisation with well over 100,000 employees.
I finished the session with a peek into some of SAP’s collaborative developments. Widgets, Adobe based front ends, IBM SAP integration, the SAP Harmony project…
It took me all of two minutes to get the widgets demo and the Yahoo! engine installed and working (thanks Ilja and Denis). (screenprint from my desktop this morning)
This is simple goodness from the imagineering team. If you want to learn more about the Widgets, head over to SDN. This provides a good intro, and places them neatly in an “enterprise” context. (thanks also to Abesh) Widgets is an example of how SDN plays a key role in distributing product knowledge; with SAP employees, partners and customers sharing tips and advice. It allows a more rapid adoption and provides better feedback into the development process.
There is a huge potential for lightweight process consumption in an ERP context. The Widget is a great starting point, but I expect to see a lot more in this direction. Also have a look at Eventus. Social media and other 2.0 technology is impacting ERP at a much faster rate than I’d expected. Dennis and Hugh take note.
SAP’s collaboration with Adobe is a great proof point for how things have changed here over the last decade or so. 10 years ago if we had seen the need for a better forms handling tool we would have taken a bunch of physics graduates and a dark room, and two years later they would have emerged blinking into the daylight with a new tool. Instead, we’ve realised that Adobe know really stuff about forms and building lightweight applications, so it makes a whole lot more sense to work with them, rather than reinvent stuff ourselves. Combining Adobe forms and SAP has made a big impact on HR administrative processes, so this isn’t just about nifty reports. It goes a lot deeper than that.
For my little session, Matt Zeller from Adobe was really helpful. I twittered him, and within a couple of hours he had sent me a cool prototype HR scenario. (not yet bloggable, but it is sweet!)
Recently on Starship Enterprisey radio Craig and I spoke with Dan McWeeney, mainly about SAP-Adobe integration. Have a listen. It looks as if I will be at teched this year, so I will get to learn a lot more about this stuff. There is an explosion of frontend innovation going on at the moment. Much to learn. I’ll be at this session for sure, and the Demo Jam of course.