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.
Our latest featured podcast is Claire Schooley's "Succession Planning, What It Is And Why It's Important".
In this podcast, BP&A Senior Analyst Claire Schooley discusses the flow of activities that need to surround effective succession planning. She also talks about the key benefits of having a sound succession strategy. The podcast finishes with 5 key recommendations.
We look forward to your questions and comments.
Subscribe to Business Process & Applications podcasts through iTunes.
Over the last 25 years in the business I heard my share of BI horror stories: “we have over 20 different BI tools”, or “we have a few thousand reports in our BI application”. BI is very much a self fulfilling prophecy – “build it, and they will come”. As we popularize BI, and as technology becomes more scalable, more stable, more function rich and user-friendly - BI spreads like wildfire and often becomes uncontrollable.
I can’t help but to quote from one of my favorite books by a British author Jerome K. Jerome “Three Men In A Boat, To Say Nothing Of A Dog”. One of the reasons I love the book, in addition to it being one of the funniest novels I ever read, is that I can almost always find a very relevant humorous quote to just about any life or business situation. At the beginning of the book three British gentlemen are planning a vacation on a river boat. As they plan for how much food and supplies they should carry, they quickly realize that there isn’t a boat big enough to fit the dimensions of the Thames river to carry all that junk.
“How they pile the poor little craft mast-high with fine clothes and big houses; with useless servants, and a host of swell friends that do not care twopence for them, and that they do not care three ha'pence for; with expensive entertainments that nobody enjoys, with formalities and fashions, with pretence and ostentation, and with - oh, heaviest, maddest lumber of all! - the dread of what will my neighbour think, with luxuries that only cloy, with pleasures that bore, with empty show that, like the criminal's iron crown of yore, makes to bleed and swoon the aching head that wears it!
Yesterday I got a sneak peak at the new Intel Classmate PC, both the clamshell and convertible models. These new models are significant upgrades from the previous version. While I never really wanted my own mini-laptop, I now have Classmate envy.
Highlights that mattered to me included (drum roll please):
10.1 inch screen to replace the tiny 8.9 inch screen – as a result the keyboard is bigger, accommodating adolescent and even adult fingers. Honestly, the previous design was just too dang small. My fingers were all over each other.
Ruggedization (is that a word?) – now designed to withstand accidental drops from desk height, with a water resistant LCD, keyboard, touch pad, HDD shock protection using the accelerometer to detect falls, and a really nice rubberized surface making it easier to hold onto.
Retractable handle – while I’m on the topic of holding it… may I say that I really don’t understand why other PC vendors don’t put handles on their laptops. My Panasonic Toughbook has one and I love it.
eReader interface – while I’ve never used my Kindle (really, not once), I do think I’d take advantage of the eReader capability of the Classmate. The accelerometer flips the content to portrait and the touchscreen allows you to “flick to scroll.” You can also highlight and take notes directly on the page. The eReader feature was what Wired magazine picked up on in their Classmate product review.
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:
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.
Analytics gets a lot of attention these days. And it should. Additional business insight is really important to improve the customer experience and more and more to understand the on-line experience. And predictive analytics is really cool. But these exciting areas tell only part of the story. Analytics can also help improve content management and transactional business processes. The infrastructure and plumbing that keeps most companies afloat. Analytics can help consolidate archives, improve capture, classify documents, improve business processes, and enhance the value of packaged apps. In short, there is a strong analytics play just for better content management and process improvement but poorly deeloped use cases and better buzz in other areas tamps down the potential. But we shall hear more about this soon.
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.
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.