SAP Watch

Nov 5 2008   5:11PM GMT

What SAP is doing right

JackDanahy Jack Danahy Profile: JackDanahy site expert Axel Angeli recently leveled some criticism against SAP’s leadership and technical direction. This week he offers some support of SAP’s policies.

There are areas in which SAP is making positive progress, mainly in the embedding of communities and in collaboration with customers and vendors. SAP has learned a lesson from the enthusiastic engagement of Global Communication and the community experts. SDN is doing great and discussing product strategies in SDN would give better insight than listening to internal plans for the future.

A new member in the family is the SAP EcoHub. The idea is great. It creates a marketplace where SAP third party-vendors and SAP customers can meet in a single place. The questions that remain are: Why is a marketplace not simply called a marketplace, and why did EcoHub come into being shortly after some former SAP employees started a similar project under the name

The business counterpart to SDN, the Business Process Expert community (BPX), is getting more and more popular. A BPXer is a knowledge engineer, an advisor who should be able to explain the technology to business and explain the real business needs to the technical staff. Here is where paths cross: Listening to the true BPX community would give SAP an idea of where they need to invest, rather than investing in something later pushed into a market that hasn’t asked for it.

SAP has established standards for certified Business Process Experts. The idea here is to deliver a canonical set of knowledge and methods as the common ground for everyone working as ERP consultants. There are plans for training and certification in order to make BPX more popular and to quickly get a critical mass of qualified BPXers all over the world.

SAP is a good company and SAP has great products. SAP customers enjoy working with the ABAP stack; not for nostalgic reasons but because it is reliable, stable, still elaborate by design and superior to everything else that competes with it. SAP ERP is also the best choice for SMBs, if it is installed and if all service is rendered by an experienced SAP partner who specializes in the SMB customer’s industry sector. SAP ERP is still the best, and only Microsoft Dynamics AX will come close.

There is still potential for SAP, but management has to understand that listening to customers and freely giving out information early — even if details change later — is better than hatching strategies in an ivory tower. SAP leaders, wake up: Listen to your community and treat customer complaints as sacred!

In part one of this blog, published earlier this week, Axel Angeli discussed why he isn’t fond of SAP CEO Leo Apotheker, SAP’s service fee increases or elements of NetWeaver. In part two, Axel criticized some of SAP’s technology decisions.

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