Lessons from SAPPHIRE06

The SAPPHIRE06 bloggers look like they did an excellent job and served as a great advert for the medium. I didn’t expect any less. Jeff Nolan noticed that bloggers collaborate:

I would have never thought about this had I not seen it in action but the bloggers on their own initiatives rescheduled their one-on-one meetings to double up rather than have exclusive time. This contrasts with traditional press people who demand exclusive access and jealously guard their Q&A, the bloggers conspire together about questions and have a rich dialog among themselves about what they are hearing.

This was predictable looking at the many links which exist between the enterprise bloggers. Jeff’s ability to respond to events is commendable. Try getting that out of a PR – don’t bother.

Here’s my take:

  • Each of the bloggers has a different but related focus. If there had been more than a couple with the same agenda then a little rivalry might have kicked in but I don’t believe the general spirit of sharing would have been degraded. Over the last couple of days, I’ve been at Innovate!Europe with a handful of bloggers and we collaborated in pretty much the same way. The press – notably – shared nothing. Looking at the results to date, I’d say there’s more solid inforfacts (informed facts) than you’d find in any Cnet. But then Dan Farber of ZDNet provides a wonderful montage.
  • There was a degree of self-organisation. My experience as a hack at these events is that the PRs want to manage press to death. That works for hacks as few bother to organise themselves. The really good hacks don’t allow themselves to be over managed and as a result tend to get the story no-one else does. Last evening I was discussing this issue in a different context with Fergus Burns of Nooked (BTW – Fergus is looking for some funding – he’s a good guy with a great story) and Brian O’Malley of the now award winning Enterprise Ireland. Bloggers self-organise as a way of cutting out inefficiency and/or just to get things done. Or, as in this case, to make sure they get the best result. Charlie Wood reflects on similar ideas.

Whether these trends continue remains to be seen. Blogging as press at such an event is novel. Reading the blogs, the ‘press like’ treatment was a new experience for many. What is equally interesting is that SAP executives were prepared to give the bloggers the time they EARNED through their collective knowledge, understanding and influence. That’s as it should be.

Check out the Technorati Tag for SAPPHIRE06. Then review del.ico.us. It even made it to the gossip oriented tech.meme (you’ve got to scroll down a fair bit)

I wonder how this will evolve. Will others follow a similar cue? Talking to SAPs PR in Europe (or rather one of its people), it’s clear the EU is relatively clueless on this issue. I know Microsoft Business Solutions people are tracking this. But then I hung my head in disappointment. I read about ‘the only true online…’ A hack just sucked it up and spat it out. No wonder the bloggers are being welcomed with open arms by SAP.

There are lessons here for other vendors looking to reach out. And for consultants like EDS, Accenture, Xanxa and the rest.

Cross-posted from AccMan Pro

SAP takes gamble on enterprise bloggers

This week, SAP is hosting its annual US-centric user conference SAPPHIRE. Jeff Nolan, who leads SAP's Apollo (Attack Oracle) group has taken the brave step of inviting 10 independent bloggers. These are people with no direct affiliation to the company. In at least one case – Neil Robertson – has direct links to SAP's nemesis – Oracle. Vinnie Mirchandani has already declared his hand in this upcoming event.

Jeff's done a great job of not only assembling a crack team, but also made access to their commentary as easy as possible. If you choose to follow the action, then you can go here. SocialText has provided a wiki which has completely open access. They've mashed that up with GoogleCalendar so you can see what's been arranged for the lads.

This is an incredibly important move. It will for instance be interesting to see the extent to which mainstream media picks up on what the bloggers are saying. I'd also be interested to see what the PR blogging community makes of it.

By the way. If you look at the SAP press office for the event, it's pretty bare. How does that compare with the information rich and dynamic bloggers wiki?

In the meantime, I'm hoping the likes of Microsoft, Sage, IRIS, MYOB and many others in the applications market are watching this. Oh yes – the title of this post: Over the years and despite its monolithic and proscriptive approach to applications, its hideous cost and lack of recent innovation, you've got to give them credit for taking this step. In that sense, SAP really is "staying ahead of the pack."

As an aside, I wonder what Gartner, Forrester, Ovum, EDS, Accenture, PwC, KPMG and the rest make of this?

UPDATE: I found this page which shows the areas of interest for these folk.

UPDATE 2: It's not entirely clear whether virtual attendees will be allowed to comment directly to the wiki or leave questions. I've asked the question.

UPDATE 3: Ross Mayfield of SocialText asked me to put him 'on assignment.'

Cross posted from AccMan Pro

IBM a disaster in the making

Sadagopan concurs with Robert X. Cringely that IBM is on a slippery slope, relying on inertia among the customer base. You could say the same about SAP but it wouldn't be so true. In fact, you could say that about a number of mega-corps in the enterprise applications space. Including Microsoft. Even so, I'd like to see the hard evidence of this. Listening to Mark Loughridge, IBMs CFO make a defence of the company's future, you'd not believe he shares these views.

Here we go

This is an occasional blog for those enterprisey things I come across that don’t really fit on my main site AccMan Pro or which are cross posted from my other presense, Integration Monitor. It will be interesting to see which peices fit in where and how it all comes together over time.