Off I am to another of these most excellent SAP bashes, as a blogger no less. Of all the conferences I go to those are among my favourites, simply because I'm put smack in the middle of some of the most knowledgeable Enterprise Software folks existing.
Tomorrow there's a full day with all the developers - SAPpies and customers - under the auspices of the SAP developer network (SDN) and the business process network (BPX) - my kind of fun that! Then two days roaming and meeting executives and customers and partners and...ahh, excellent.
Huge kudos to SAP letting us roam freely to talk to their developers and executives but also to their partners and customers - a huge learning experience. And of course, kudos for making it possible by covering our costs - we bloggers are not earning money from blogging, so any travel goes off the wine budget which is always hard ;) Thank you SAP, it shows self-confidence to let us in as you do.
But I also enter these things with much respect, knowing that I'm a mere novice in Enterprise Software.
The bloggers attending - many of which are fellow Enterprise Irregulars - have a combined experience in that field that I would not even be able to gather over many lifetimes, so this time I'm planning to focus on a few issues that is close to my heart. Perhaps not (yet?) close to SAP's heart, but we'll see:
Semantic methods - I hear Oracle, HP and IBM among many others are dabbling in this area - do SAP sniff and even do any research here? A search on their web site yields little or nothing.
Barely repeatable processes - as you know one of my favourite areas, the ongoing within any organisation that is not covered by the ubiquitous process software like ERP, CRM, HCM and the like. The stuff that take up most of your day. Kind of important that. What plans or activities do SAP have here?
Intentional organisational changes - as mentioned by Michael in his most enjoyable post here - "ERP implementations are intended to expose how an organization operates, which helps streamline and standardize processes". This is something I agree with strongly, and I see it as a huge boon, not a negative as many see it.
I am afraid that most organisations forget that "the way they do things today" once upon time came to life precisely because of some technology, or rather limitations to that former technology. Often that former technology was "pen and paper" so most think "it's supposed to be like that, the way we do it is natural and the default"! A kick in the butt is not always a bad thing.
So do SAP "play this effect down" or do they actively enhance the good part of it?
So I'm packing my notebook and have sharpened my pencils - really looking forward to it! Report to follow.
If you have an issue that I should study further when in the lions den, please suggest, I'll be happy to stick my head out!