Getting the best return on your SAP investment

George Lawrie

Are you a wondering how to get the most out of your SAP investment? Are you trying to figure out SAP’s long-term strategy? Do you want to make better use of SAP’s BI platforms and services ecosystem? If so you have a lot in common with other Forrester clients.

 

Forrester has answered hundreds of inquiries about SAP in the last year or so. And the volume of inquiries is increasing as our clients roll out SAP solutions to the furthest reaches of their global domains and use white space partners to cover an ever broader footprint.

At the same time, you ask us questions about deployment best practices, SAP’s pricing and licensing, its middleware approach, the strategic significance of its acquisitions, and the implications of changes in the top management team.

We decided to pull together all our experts to discuss their SAP research in a series of jam sessions (teleconferences) to help you make the best informed decisions with the minimum investment of time. Each teleconference looks at a specific dilemma for which we’ve fielded client inquiries.

If you are an Application Development & Program Management professional, or a CIOs, or a Business Process & Applications professional looking for guidance then there is a session in this week long series of one hour Webex sessions just for you. Or if your dilemmas cover all the topics you can attend all the sessions or download them later and follow at your leisure.

We’ll start by looking at SAP’s Product Strategy. We will explain just how SAP's product portfolios and technology strategy for enterprises and SMB clients is evolving. You will hear Forrester analysts debate the merits of SAP's product offerings, technology architecture innovations, and its likely success in providing software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings.

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How Will Cloud Impact Your Existing Application Portfolio?

Phil Murphy

In a conversation with a vendor in the application portfolio management space the other day, we got on the subject of what "Cloud" means to them and by extension to their current and future customer base. My colleagues have written extensively on what it may mean to Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, HP and others, and our conversation began discussing the potential of cloud-computing from a vendor perspective - for instance:

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Staffing, Skills And Workforce Planning Survey - How Are You Coping?

Phil Murphy

How successful is your firm at attracting and retaining people with the skills you need to develop, deploy, and maintain your applications? Do you believe we're headed for much tougher times trying to hire and retain skills or do you think some of the hype is overblown? We have fielded a survey on staffing and skills issues and I'd like to encourage you to participate as we dig into many of the issues.

General issues:

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Oracle Likes Cloud Computing After All

John R. Rymer

Larry Ellison angrily dismisses suggestions that Oracle’s business will be harmed by the rise of cloud computing. Many misinterpret Ellison’s remarks to mean he (and by extension Oracle) thinks cloud computing is a dumb idea that Oracle won’t pursue. We are now learning that Oracle does, in fact, intend to pursue cloud computing. But we're also learning that Oracle's strategy is more limited than those of IBM and Microsoft, its large-vendor competitors.

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Next gen of metadata driven BI apps

Boris Evelson

We all struggle with complexity of designing, building and maintaining BI apps. Why? Among many other reasons, the simplest one is that there's just too many components involved. Just to name a few

  • Data sourcing
  • Data extraction
  • Data integration
  • Data cleansing
  • Data aggregation
  • Data modeling (star schemas, cubes)
  • Metrics management
  • Queries
  • Reports
  • Dashboards
  • Alerts
  • Delivery (portals, schedulers, emails, etc)

For years there were many attempts to automate some of these steps via metadata. So rather than than coding source to target SQL transformations or DDL for DW generation vendors came up with, what I know call "1st generation" metadata driven BI tools, such as

  • ETL tools where metadata auto-generated SQL scripts for data extraction, loading and transformation
  • BI tools where metadata auto-generated SQL for queries
  • Data modeling tools where metadata auto-generated logical data models and DDL for physical data models

But, the "2nd generation" metadata driven BI apps (note apps vs tools now) do much more. For example, they:

  • Use metadata to generate multi vendor apps (like BalancedInsight, Kalido and BIReady do), and having a single place where changes can be made
  • Use metadata to generate all three (ETL SQL, BI SQL, DW DDL, like Cognos, Wherescape, BIReady do), and having a single place where changes to all 3 can be made
  • Using metadata to generate report layouts (like Cognos does)
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Enterprise packaged apps integration

George Lawrie

Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote, man is born free and is everywhere in chains. So too Enterprise app deployments are conceived as self contained yet everywhere are integrated with legacy and complementary apps.

My colleague Ken Vollmer and I are looking at packaged apps integration best practices and how these might change as some apps move to the cloud. We are asking:

What kind of middleware do you use?

How do you help process owners to assemble (composite) processes that have transactional integrity?

What do you do about the conflicting data models of apps from different stables – for example yours and those of a third party or perhaps in –house?

How far can so called “canonical” data models and meta data help to overcome such problems?

If you have experience and an opinion about what constitute the top three best practices in such packaged apps integration, or if you can warn about the three most egregious pitfalls to avoid we would love to talk with you.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you at glawrie@forrester.com

SAP Changes Continue – 10 Predictions for 2010

Holger Kisker

After the recent board changes the strategy will change too

After the recent board changes at SAP the message we could read in most news was like ‘new board – old strategy’. Along with the board changes SAP did not announce (yet) any significant strategic changes. But what good is it to change the board and leave everything else as is?

The recent SAP board changes are just the visible tip of the iceberg of much deeper changes SAP will and has to go through to renew itself as a leading IT vendor. Below are 10 predictions for changes in SAP’s strategic direction I expect within the next 10+ months:

1.    More SAP Board Changes Will Come

Additional board changes will further strengthen the product & technology focus and competence within the SAP board. See also Forrester’s blog on the recent SAP board changes: SAP CEO Resigns – Long Live The Co-CEOs

2.    Business ByDesign Will Get Back Into SAP’s Strategic Center

Business ByDesign will become again the corner stone of SAP’s growth strategy and the successful introduction will mark a ‘make it or break it’ milestone for SAP.

3.    SAP Announces The Next-Generation ERP

SAP will announce a next-generation ERP solution to regain leadership in its core business area and it will likely be based on the ByDesign platform.

4.    SAP Changes Its Cloud Strategy

SAP will rework its whole On-Demand strategy and will unify and align all components based on the ByDesign platform. See also Forrester’s recent blog on SAP’s On-Demand strategy: SAP Is Skydiving Into The Clouds.

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Blogs and My Research Lifecycle

John R. Rymer

I’m soon getting a new tool for my work as an industry analyst: A Forrester blog. Before diving into my new blog, I think I should define its role in my work, and get your comments and suggestions.

My Forrester blog is a new part of my research lifecycle (depicted below). I’ve been pursuing some form of this research lifecycle for over 15 years.

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NoSQL And Elastic Caching Platforms Are Kissing Cousins

Mike Gualtieri

The NoSQL Movement Is Gaining Momentum, But What The Heck Is It?

The NoSQL movement is a combination of an architectural approach for storing data and software products (such as Tokyo Cabinet, CouchDb, Redis) that can store data without using SQL. Thus the term NoSQL.

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There Won’t Be A Mobile Channel In Banking Anymore

Jost Hoppermann

The mobile channel is increasingly relevant in business strategies, application architectures and applications of financial services firms. Consequently, we are all aware that the headline represents a strong exaggeration. So, why this statement? Is there any substance in it that application architects, application developers, and enterprise architects need to consider? Interactions with a number of banks indicate that the answer is yes.

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