I had the good fortune of attending the SAP Insider*: Information Management event the other week (week of March 22nd) where I heard from SAP on their latest strategy and vision for “information management”, and heard from several SAP users how they are using “information management”. Of course my focus was (and is) Master Data Management (MDM). And there was a lot of MDM stuff to learn at the event! Hopefully I can share some of the take-away’s in some upcoming research shortly.
But, before that, I wanted to share with you one particular item of interest. This is not so much research but more an observation that I make since I have followed SAP closely for some time. The observation is this: About 3 years into SAP’s NetWeaver strategy (some years before the Business Objects acquisition), SAP finally got its NetWeaver vision sorted it. What I mean to say is that the SAP vision had a singular hook, a goal, and end point, and that end point was called, SAP NetWeaver. It didn’t matter if you spoke with executive leadership, ERP sales reps, small or mid size enterprise people, application folks, the end, their future, was always going to hinge on the success of SAP NetWeaver. SAP NetWeaver was going to make everything work. It was a credible goal, one that SAP worked many thousands of hours on honing. SAP NetWeaver MDM was at the heard of this vision (which was a good thing, in my view). Single view of critical master data objects, across an enterprise, seems pretty fundamental to me – no matter what the business goals.
Today, post the Business Objects acquisition, that singular vision does not seem to be there. As I sat in the Key Note of the SAP Insider event, I noted that almost every key user segment of SAP’s large footprint now had something visionary on offer. If you were a Business Objects user, you had a road map. If you were a business application user, you had a road map. If you were into content management, or database management, or analytics, or MDM, or anything, you had something special for you. SAP NetWeaver is still in the picture of course, it has to be, but it is no longer the single rallying cry that comes from SAP. I would paraphrase the visible shift as “from Nirvana to Something for Everyone”. This is not a negative criticism; it is an observation. What this means for SAP clients, and SAP itself, remains the playground of gossip, and good research. But I thought the observation worth sharing.
What do you observe?
*SAP Insider is conducted independently by WIS, publisher of SAP Insider, with permission from SAP AG. WIS is not affiliated with SAP AG.
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