Yup I am a week or so late in keeping up with my life, and sure feels that way with all the things going on. The industry, events, the blogsphere, are all in hyper drive, and most of all, for keeping me personally busy, so are the users. Two things seem to be happening; the first is the business people are now pushing IT for their response and contribution to a changing business environment, and second events such as SAPPHIRE are producing an interesting impact.
It was best summed up by the statement; ‘I have seen such cool technology that could make a real difference to our business, but I have no idea how to take it to the business’.

There is another angle to that remark and it’s about the way the USA version of SAPPHIRE was structured. In previous years the Association of SAP User Groups, ASUG, held a separate event on the two days before, this time it was a concurrent affair with ASUG as prominent as SAP. This changed the dynamics in the exhibition booths as users clearly and obviously wanted to find about the effectiveness of using new SAP products from other users rather than from the SIs. As Henning Kagerman said in his keynote the challenge is to refocus from Transactions to Collaboration, and the shift to integrate ASUG is effectively them doing what they are preaching.
The use of BPX the online collaboration site run by SAP continues this collaboration and is growing by month in popularity, so the change in business environment is there for the traditional SIs. No longer is the role to provide case studies on implementation in the old way, that’s to be found from other users now. What this form of collaboration does is ruthlessly strip away context to force a focus on core value to the community. In this case for Capgemini it’s now on our experience, methods and expertise in the taking SAP to the business community. That’s where clearly users felt they needed and wanted help.
Listening to the rest of Henning’s presentation, and if you weren’t there it’s worth finding an online reply, there was a clear and concise shift in the SAP position and value towards high end edge of business support. The message was clear about being able to build ‘Business Networks’ to combine people, enterprises, and events in an ‘insightful’ manner. But this is not the old ERP logging the enterprise ‘transactions’ this is a new SAP with new products selling high value business insights to specialised managers. In short, moving the SAP users attending into a very different game to their old IT department operations, and, making the need for a different set of capabilities from the SIs even more apparent.
As usual I am not going to repeat all the posts and comments on Henning’s speech, but I am going to suggest that you listen to it, and read those comments, with attention to the thought who is buying this and why. Then reflect on the skills needed to make that happen, we are indeed going to need to collaborate in a new and different way to make this happen.