SAP is wired…

I read Wired magazine and the Economist in the paper form whenever I get stuck in Airports, and online versions just about every week.  Both write about interesting stuff, often with a witty turn of phrase. One, in English english; the other in American english. (My blog is in South African English with a twist of too long in Germany.)

Anyway. loved this from Wired  SAP got rank number 10 on the wired 40 list.

CEOs like their business apps to be just like their cars: big, fast, and German. While archrival Oracle expands its product line at M&A sword point, SAP rolls its own code, crafting slick modules for everything from analytics to HR. Can it meet the audacious goal of doubling its market cap by 2011? Innovation, ho!

I have said before that SAP needs to market its Germaness

I saw a  post from Jason on the SAP Oracle state of affairs. Check it out.  this comment is especially astute.

The ecosystem partners will tell you that SAP is out-executing Oracle by a significant margin.

SAP training classes are full as our partners retrain ex-Oracle and PSFT consultants onto SAP. This tells me more than a clever press release does. 

search rankings and the World Cup

Weird this. Zoliblog has posted previously on his google fame with Duet. Well here is your ERP -SAP guy, as a football expert.  The post got less hits than the USA did goals at the world cup, so I think perhaps dogpile is an appropriate name for the tool.

One of my regular blog reads is Davos newbies.  Lance Knobel twrites about soccer and world politics with a fabulous turn of phrase. Read this post and learn about boosterism.

I’m sitting in my little bit of German garden at 21.22 and the sun is still shining. I think I will go in and catch the second half of the game, befitting my new status as football-soccer guru. 


I knew English lit would come in useful one day.

 The other day, while searching the web for something entirely different I found this

(serendipity indeed), what a fabulous blog, and compared to many analyst reports and marketing materials, remarkably easy to read…(once you get used to it)

My gentil rederes alle, what merveilous werkes we see yn thys tyme. BSL! Several sithes within oon daies space ich am astonyed with the wonderful werkynges of the Internette. Trewely, yt beth a thyng of grete wisdam and power.

I especially liked this post, and the comment about java (see bold below)

Dear Geoff:

I'm changing the taps on a plastic bathtub. I've got a cranked spanner to loosen off the tail nuts, but I'm worried that the corrosion on the threads is so bad they're not going to come off, or that I might damage the fabric of the tub trying. Because I'm working in a restricted space (the cavity between the tub and the wall – about four inches) sawing would take ages, and the fact that the tub is plastic would make trying to burn the corrosion off pretty risky, too. I've tried loosening off with a synthetic penetrating oil, but all it seems to be doing is making the tails greasy.

What do you recommend?


Frustrated DIYer

My deere Mayster Frustratede Dyere,

Ich do much wondre that a welthy mayster of the Dyeinge crafte swich as yowrself sholde haue a fyne and riche bathynge tvbbe with runnyge watir and yet haue nat the moneye for to payen men wyse yn tvbbe-crafte whane ye nede repairynge of the aforeseyde tvbbe.

For no man in hymself ys sufficiente for al nedes, and therefor as Aristotelis saith in his booke of Politique, diverse men aren ygrouped togedir yn citees and reaumes for to svpplie eche othir wyth hire diverse skilles. Oon man cardeth the woole, oon man spinneth the woole, and an oothir dyeth the woole a fayre colour. Oon man ys skillede yn the husbandrie of beestes, an othir yn the preparacioun of java-basid onlyne gamblynge interfaces, and yet an othir in the produccioun of artificiale guacamole flavour for potato crispes.

Thus, Mayster Dyere, kepe ye to yowr owen crafe of dyemakynge and dyeinge of textiles, and employe sum maysters of tvbberye to fixe yowr bathtube. Also ye maye wisshe to haue installyd sum of those jacuzzi air-jettes; they are helle of swete aftir a longe daye of travel.

It would be nice if writers of software marketing materials would offer a similar glossary. 

Chaucer is a great rollicking read. He was the Hunter S Thompson of his day. The Canterbury tales is the orginal road tour.

Reading this, you can see the shared roots of  English and German. Actually, I have just realised that I don't actually speak German, just a form of middle english.

My regular readers may remember that English lit helped with a pivotal moment a good few years, described here.)

Deutschland, America, flags and the (fifa) world cup.

One of the many things that struck me when I’ve visited the USA is the pride with which many Americans show off their flag and are often openly patriotic. It is not unusual to see huge flagpoles with vast flags in relatively modest gardens.


 Americans often wear their patriotism on their sleeves, literally too. Some find this  jarring, but I don’t.  In business American based companies have used this well, and have effectively marketed the American dream around the world. 

This sense of cheeriness and optimism and belief in “the American way and dream” has helped American business tremedously. 

I think the likes of IBM are beginning to understand the limits of this (see the CEOS letter to the FT) He is dead right about the “colonial” model, and the need to adapt. This relates to software design too, but that would be a book, not just a post….

I grew up in South Africa, and one of the most hated symbols by many was the old flag. But the new flag is a fabulous rallying symbol to all, and is on cars, tee-shirts and flag poles all over the place.

German patriotism is a much more complex thing. Germany’s past is unavoidable, and most Germans are not at all open about being “patriotic” Germans rarely seem to give of the  impression that they are proud to be German, even if they may feel so inside. Instead, complaining about Germany is too cool, and easy to do, and is done too often.

The world cup is changing this, everywhere flags abound. Germans are out there supporting their team, and at the same time feeling good about being German and hosting this magnificent event.  It is helping to create a positive stimmung (feeling) that I havent felt in 10 years of visiting and living here.

I watched a TV programme this morning where one of the politicians was getting upset about this wave of German nationalism. (At least that is what I thought he was on about. political german is nearly as complex as SOA  German.)

I think he is so wrong. Maybe Germans are just realising that it is okay to be proud about where you are from. This is a good thing.

German companies like SAP should do more of the same. Germany is the world export champion at the moment. Here’s hoping that Germany win the World cup too.

MTV get it.

some good news from Germany….

(I live in Germany but I'm not German. I pass the tebitt test though, and  will be supporting them in the football world cup. Strictly speaking this more than slightly strange test of nationality was about cricket. I like Germany, but not enough to support them at cricket, unless they pick me for the team)

 Check out this post on the state of the German economy.  it suprised me.

In spite of Germany’s unexceptional macro­economic data, no other industrial nation has so successfully harnessed the opportunities offered by an interconnected global economy.

This mid-sized country of 80m, often painted as angst-ridden, risk-averse and allergic to change, has been the world’s largest exporter of goods every year since it overtook the US in 2003.

In spite of Germany’s unexceptional macro­economic data, no other industrial nation has so successfully harnessed the opportunities offered by an interconnected global economy.

This may link somehow to a post about Duet….and all that world is flat business.

Duet, has helped break not only the language barriers from the code point of view, but has also broken geographical barriers from the development point of view. Within SAP, the building of Duet is spread across locations that are as far apart as they can get. Labs at Palo Alto (USA), Walldorf (Germany), Ra'anana (Israel), and Bangalore (India) all work together on this product. For me, this is the first time I am witnessing Global Development of this scale happen so efficiently and so rapidly. Initially it was awe at first sight. Now even after months into this project, I am still in awe. If I was asked to summarize the document on “How Duet (Mendocino) works?”, I would finish it off with one word – “Magic”.

When I think of German exports it is VW, BMW, Porsche, Hugo Boss and ugly beer mugs, that come to mind. SAP though, is a major exporter too. As I have noted before, SAP must  continue to keep that delicate balance between those traits that make Germany the export champions, and bringing in the best people and ideas from across the world. Duet it seems, is proof that this is working.

To improve the broader german economy though, apparently internal consumer spending needs a boost…all developers should as an economic imperative, buy new birkenstocks.

(okay I'm not mentioning a whole lot of structural economic issues…………….)  


This is my first day back at work for nearly 3 weeks  (thank you german labour law). more about that in another post once I have been through the email torrent. It was weird not accessing the web or the blogsphere for this time. no doubt there will be much to a catch up on. I will watch the sapphire blogging thingy that Jeff has arranged with interest

Mendocino is now called Duet. (hmmmm).  It is better than, but as my mate  phillip noted it does have more than a tinge of Kenny Rogers to it.

I have presented it to several customers over the past six months. It does hit the right note. (aaaah)

The website though, is great. Check it out  (see if you can see the mac in the demo!) 

vaporising middle management….with web 2.0?

I have been interested in history since I before could read. The Weimar republic introduced me to the issue of hyperinflation. The image of wheelbarrow of money to buy a loaf of bread is a haunting one.

We have a hyperinflation problem today in the workplace.

When my father was working for a listed company in the early 1980’s, he was the finance manager, that meant he ran the finance department and was on the board of the company. He reported to the general manager. Today things are rather different.  Everyday I meet more and more vice presidents, senior vice presidents, executive vice presidents, directors, CFO, COOs and so on. I think there are more directors and VPs now than not. Titles have lost their meaning.   Recently, when a friend of mine said proudly, “I’ve been made a director”, my father dryly asked, “under the terms of 1985 Companies Act?”

America has one Vice President. So why does a company need thousands of them? I think it is time for a job title revaluation. Which of you Chief senior executive commander vice presidents evangelist strategists is going to be first…?

What does this have to do with web 2.0?  If it lives up to its hype it at the least should improve information flows in organisations.  Nicholas Carr has an interesting post on this. He quotes McAffee:

It has historically been the case that as organizations grow it becomes more and more difficult for people within them to find a particular information resource – a person, a fact, a piece of knowledge or expertise. Enterprise 2.0 technologies, however, can be a force in the opposite direction. They can make large organizations in some ways more searchable, analyzable and navigable than smaller ones, and make it easier for people to find precisely what they’re looking for. The new technologies certainly don’t overcome all the dysfunctions of corporate scale, but they might be able to address some of them.

I will be reading more of this McAffee fellow, sound stuff. He compares Nupedia with Wikipedia. And comments..

technologists have done a brilliant job at three tasks: building platforms to let lots of users express themselves, letting the structure of these platforms emerge over time instead of imposing it up front, and helping users deal with the resulting flood of content.

If web 2.0 does exactly what it says on the tin, it means that layers of excel and powerpoint assembling politcially-aware sycophantic middle-managers (VPs etc) can be vaporised. Knowledge workers (I hate that term) can make stuff, and those that need it can find it. We could have more developers, more support people and more sales people instead. 

I should stop this and go with my wheelbarrow to a meeting.