The natural high point of Sapphire 2007 was SAP CEO Henning Kagermann's keynote, and the message was clear: SAP is getting serious about this Web 2.0 business. Knowledge sharing, collaboration and self-service features are the tune of the future, which coincidentally goes hand in hand with the Harmony initiative we mentioned the other day. Social networking, wiki-style content building and similar user-driven activities are growing in popularity overall, so it's not surprising that SAP is embracing the Web 2.0 movement.
Basically, we're looking at a shift from a top-down, technically rigid structure to a more fluid, informal way of thinking with a certain trust in that people can find workable solutions to their problems. There are examples where this type of individual empowerment has worked out great, but it's not necessarily a given (browse a few controversial topics on Wikipedia for examples of information integrity breach). By and large, however, it makes a lot of sense and we'll be following this closely in the year ahead.
Kagermann also talked about the new Business Process Platform (BPP) and how they've now expanded it to the whole product portfolio (with Business One being the only exception.) That's in line with SAP's previously stated focus on business processes as well as Hasso Plattner's keynote presentation on Monday.
A1S, the new on demand ERP solution that has been hinted at for months, was finally unveiled. Scaled for customers with 50-500 users, the product bridges the gap between Business One and All-in-One. It is NetWeaver-based with the same underpinnings as All-in-One, making it a natural fit in SAP's next-gen product portfolio. Further, it has a "try it, then buy it" feature that gives potential customers a chance to see what A1S can do for them before cutting a sizable check. Stay tuned as news editor Jon Franke dives deeper into this topic next week.