As most of you know, I am prone to writing longer rather than shorter pieces on my blog. Before I head back to Colorado to bang some of these longer pieces out, I did want to try and capture some of the themes that I found interesting from my time at SAPPHIRE. These themes will come back in a much more significant form in the next few days as I get some time to really sit down and pull a well formed thought or two together:
The Dilemama of Workflow's Historical Adoption in NetWeaver's BPM Futrure
Historically workflow adoption rates in packaged applications (e.g. those that actually implement the workflow systems in the application) are relatively low (e.g. George Bush approval ratings low). Given this history and given the premise that SAP’s future is all about business process creation and management, how do you get customers over the BPM line in NetWeaver if they didn’t see enough value in it before? I asked this question to Shai at the press conference and he gave me one perspective on an answer.
Organizational Infrastructure versus Technical Infrastructure
There is a lot of talk at SAPPHIRE about technology. No surprise, that’s what SAP is: a business technology company. However, I think the coming shift to SOA, BPM, composite applications, etc.. is going to require some pretty dramatic organizational changes as well. Who owns business processes (and implementation)? How do disparate development groups get merged? What is the common development philosophy, and process? Is the CIO doomed (once again!)?
TomorrowNow and the Open Source Maintenance Model
One of the things I started to realize about TomorrowNow is that, in one stroke, they are another form of the emerging group of corporate open source providers (e.g. RedHat, Asterix, etc..). I have written a lot about how packaged applications were the first true open source systems, and thus their open architecture has handed TomorrowNow the opportunity to sell maintenance services on them (just like RedHat). There’s a lot to talk about here, but it begs a number of interesting questions about where TomorrowNow goes next with their strategy.
A Journey Down the Commodity Path
There has been a lot of discussion in bloggers corner about what gets commoditized in the NetWeaver/Fusion stack: development applications (e.g. JDeveloper, Web Dyn Pro), Applications (are all GL’s created equal), middleware? Depending on what you believe, it might change your long or short position in Oracle or SAP. Ismael, one of the SAPPHIRE bloggers, has a great post making the case for open sourcing NetWeaver as the middleware stack will innevitably become a commodity.
Developers, Developers, Developers
So much to talk about in the emerging platform wars. But for the first time, I realized that it may not ONLY be about developers, developers, developers. There is, in fact, another battle brewing and SAP is well in the lead.
The Net/Net on .NET
Lots of talk on language agnosticity in the market (from all sides), but not a lot of reality on how a customer actually gets there. I’m going to take a tour of where Oracle and SAP both sit in terms of language support both in their stack and outside. I can promise you'll see some comments about the emergence of Sharepoint as a standard component of your IT's future.
The Premise of OnDemand
SAP’s OnDemand strategy is forming up in a very different way than the rest of the market (Oracle OnDemand, USi). Is SAP seeing something the rest of us aren't? Is this just a capture strategy for early ERP/CRM adopters? What's the real ability to deliver the same OnDemand model for different verticals? How will delivery of some verticals through partners work? What's the potential of a VAR strategy? All of these are important questions and the SAP executive gave me some good answers as well.
The Dirty Secret of SOA
There's a dirty little secret lurking beneath the SOA story. As customers get further into implementation it's goint to start rearing its ugly head soon. Now, more than ever I think SOA providers need to start investing (SAP through their NetWeaver fund maybe) in solutions that will help reign this beast in.