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


Has the FT given in to advertorial?

An article by Donald J. Rippert CTO at Accenture around SOA that appeared in the FT Online edition has raised an eyebrow or two. Vinnie Mirchandani doesn't seem that impressed:

In technology, we sometime confusedly use the term "partner". For an ISV, your customer is your true partner, not your SI budddies. buddies. Their armies are actually scaring your customers. And making the already questionable payback from SOA look even less attractive.

Sadagopan isn't overly enthusiastic either:

As I see it in terms of SOA adoption amongst other things issues like several critical problems like communication mismatch between business and technical architects, ever evolving standards and a lack of a visible wave in embracing this technology all come in the way. Further, as I see it, the lasting value through SOA deployment is not just in empowering the business manager, but in fostering and creating a new

I don't blame them. I see the issue from a different perspective. In comments to Vinnie's posting, I said:

I saw this article and only got three lines in before I thought: 'who wrote this crock of…' then when I saw it was Accenture's CTO, I clicked away. I"m surprised the FT allowed self-serving content of this kind onto its online presence. No ability to comment, no third party confirmation of any statements made, no third party evidence but opinion masquerading as fact.
This is a dangerous precedent.