SAP Watch

May 14 2007   5:42PM GMT

Sapphire Vienna and SAP globalization

JackDanahy Jack Danahy Profile: JackDanahy

Sapphire 2007 — Vienna this time, not Atlanta — is already proving to be an interesting event with many new stories and announcements. Unfortunately, none of the staff had the opportunity to attend this year. Good news is, we have some local contacts including veteran expert Axel Angeli helping us keep tabs on things — watch for his comments and exclusive interviews on the recently announced Maxdata acquisition.

Among the new announcements, SAP GRC Risk Management is a new application tapping into the rising interest in GRC we saw at Sapphire Atlanta. The new addition promises to bring risk management to a more strategic, high-level plane where it becomes part of practically every aspect of a business. Components include Risk Planning, Risk Identification and Analysis, Risk Response and Risk Monitoring, IT News Online reports.

John Blau from InfoWorld reports that SAP is acknowledging problems with A1S, the on-demand ERP solution we wrote about last week, but adds that “nothing has changed” according to SAP executives. Slated for Q1 2008 release, rumors were circulating that it may be pushed back to a later date. SAP now insists this will not happen, Blau reports. Time will tell how this plays out, but rest assured we’ll be there to cover it when A1S hits the market.

On a side note, Larry Dignan at ZDNet brought up an interesting point about SAP’s globalization efforts as reported in the Wall Street Journal last week. With Agassi gone, he said, things get more difficult for a company many perceive as a tad stodgy and inflexible. Compounding the issue is a somewhat unorthodox methodology for going global on such a broad scale. From the WSJ article:

“Few companies try to globalize from top to bottom. Many companies build extensive sales, service and manufacturing operations abroad, but most keep top posts and important areas like corporate strategy and product development close to headquarters. Microsoft Corp., for instance, continues to set software strategy from Redmond, Wash., even as it hires thousands of programmers in India. SAP, by contrast, split up its pivotal product-development effort into eight centers around the globe, directed from California by Mr. Agassi.”

What happens now? Dignan describes it as a tug-of-war between the continents, and that rings true. The vacuum left by Agassi’s abrupt departure won’t be filled with a snap of the fingers. Having said that, does this mean SAP’s globalization efforts are about to implode? Most certainly not. The course is set and the juggernaut is in motion — the only question is how much friction there will be in the year ahead as a new equilibrium (or something close to it) is established.

Matt Danielsson

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