Changes in SAP America

Two announcements from SAP America yesterday that both change and add new roles. Firstly Rob Enslin becomes President SAP North America and perhaps the most interesting one; the appointment of Robert C. Cresanti as vice president of Government Relations.

Over the past few days there has been discussion around the battle for the military within the US, in terms of software. This appears to be lining up between the usual two suspects of SAP and Oracle. 

Robert C. Cresanti is a former Under Secretary of Commerce for Technology, where he headed the Technology Administration (TA) and served as chief privacy officer for the Department of Commerce. Cresanti co-chaired the Committee on Technology and the Interagency Working Group on Manufacturing R&D within the President’s National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). He also represented the Commerce Department on the President’s ID Theft Task Force.

Having a man who knows his way around on the inside is clearly an advantage for SAP!

Infosys investigates European Players





After missing out to HCL over the acquisition of Axon, it appears that Infosys is back again looking to increase its share of European activity. Apparently it has two companies in its sights. BCC from Poland and Ciber Novasoft part of an American based company.

Infosys can certainly afford these as purchases with over $1.7 billion in available funds.

Big names move forward with SAP activities


Despite uncertain times two big corporations have continued and even accelerated their Business Process change through their SAP investments. Both Proctor and Gamble and Unilever have publicly stated that they are strengthening their operations. In the case of Unilever £960 million savings in the last year are attributed in part to the standardisation program underway through use of its SAP platform. P&G were less specific about the savings but noted they were stepping up a gear in the savings and efficiency improvement program as a result of a new Enterprise agreement with SAP.

So clearly value is being created for the “mega” companies who operate in a very close partnership with SAP – these being the 100 or so that enjoy a very different relationship with the vendor to the other 40,000 or so. The challenge is for the same benefits to be made available to the newcomers and small customers.

New independent study shows SAP in top place for ERP satisfaction

A new study today has SAP coming out top against all ERP vendors in terms of ERP satisfaction. SAP scored 73%, Oracle 62%, Microsoft 69% and tier II providers 70%.  However all is not as straightforward as it appears (it never is!). If you were looking at cost and time to implement you would leap at the Tier II providers as they are significantly ( and I mean significantly ) better value. However over that hovers the big cloud of risk – the business risk with Tier II is higher with SAP rated the lowest.

Overall this survey has some very interesting data within it – but some things, in my view, come out to challenge the whole ERP software and implementation industry. Given the fact that best score on business risk is 50% (SAP) for an ERP implementation there is a lot to go at in terms of improvement. Add to this an average implementation time of  19.8 months (SAP 20 months) and there is work to be done!!

So all you software vendors and implementers out there – it’s time to up your game!!

Link to topline results here.

Project problems or software problems?

Today there is a story from across the pond. It tells of a nightmare of installing software in a certain Marin County. This was installed in 2006 and still isn’t delivering the right numbers.


This paragraph says it all –

An Independent Journal review bolsters contentions that a complicated system more sophisticated than necessary was installed, based in the wrong department and implemented too quickly as officials bowed to advice from consultants they now question. Critics were all but ignored. Training was minimal. Management was erratic.”

So often in these cases an organisation doesn’t stamp its authority on the project activities. A project management structure owned and run by the whole organisation is essential when you are re-engineering the organisation processes. Where was the risk management? Where was the executive ownership? Where was the independent audit of the project?

So what are we to learn from their experience? Yet again, change management is the key not the software or how it is provided and that isn’t something you contract out to someone else – you might seek assistance but your own people must be in place to ensure the ownership and delivery.  A risk register should be in place and mitigation plans devised for anything identified. Lastly if you contract out services to others you must ensure that delivery clauses exist that are meaningful enough to ensure what you pay for is delivered.

The State of the Economy

In a previous post I commented on some companies that were delivering good results despite all the glum news. Today I came across an article from Harvey Jones that was posted on who has been taking a look at things.  He’s been looking at signals such as house prices and spending on cards and draws an interesting and intelligent conclusion – its not as bad as history.


So enjoy the bits of good news that we have, because they could be thin on the ground for the rest of the year. But comparisons with the devastation of the 1930s are misleading, because even if the UK contracts as much in percentage terms as it did then, it will be from an incomparably higher starting point.”

SAP announce new Director for SME UK & Ireland

Today SAP announced the appointment of Stephen Read to head up activities around SME and specifically, SAP All-in-One, Business by Design, and Business One. Stephen’s stated intent is to continue to compete in this market place and build on the 1000 customers already in place within the UK and Ireland.

SAP Enterprise Support now for Business Objects Customers

The following is an extract from GBN (the Global Business Objects Network) which is the Business Objects User Group set up for North American customers with the help and support of ASUG (The Americas Sap User Group).

SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise Support FAQs

 Note: This information was provided to us from SAP. GBN created this document to inform members of this new program in a clear, concise manner.

 Why is SAP changing the support model for SAP BusinessObjects customers?

To facilitate a consistent customer experience, globally.

 When is this change taking place and how is it being communicated?

The new Enterprise Support offering was launched July 1, 2008.

Prior to its launch, e-mails were sent to all contact e-mail addresses residing in the legacy Business Objects support CRM, throughout June 2008. All e-mail and announcement content was posted on the legacy Business Objects support site in July 2008, and remained available through January 2009.

 For new customers, Enterprise Support is introduced during the license sales cycle and an Enterprise Support package is provided after contract signing.

 Effective January 1, 2009, all existing customers will be moved to SAP Enterprise Support at their next renewal date. Enterprise Support information will be provided to customers by your Maintenance Renewal Account Manager prior to the renewal date.

You can find more information about this program on SAP’s Service Marketplace.

 What does the Enterprise Support model offer that my legacy Business Objects one did not?

The new program offers: On-line incident logging for all severity of issues Integrated knowledge-base content and incident management for knowledge-centered support Contractual response SLA’s Unlimited support contacts at no additional charge Self-serve administration of support contacts

What additional costs will I incur as a result of this model?

SAP is standardizing support costs for SAP BusinessObjects customers. The Enterprise Support maintenance fee is currently 22 percent of the net license value. In 2008, prior to the introduction of Enterprise Support, BusinessObjects customers had a number of support options all commercially priced at 22 percent of net license or higher.

Additional for-fee services are expected to become available on an a la carte basis. Some of these services are anticipated to include short-term engagements such as implementation readiness, technical checks and assessments, and QA process review, just to name a few.

What is the expected life span of the Enterprise Support model?

Enterprise Support is expected to be the core support offering for the foreseeable future.

Does this mean that my organization will have to implement SAP’s Solution Manager?

No. BusinessObjects customers are not currently required to implement Solution Manager. However, over the coming months, SAP is scheduled to release connectors to specific products in the SAP BusinessObjects portfolio that SAP anticipates will make Solution Manager very applicable and beneficial to BusinessObjects customers. SAP anticipates that the IDD product line will be the first one with connectors into Solution Manager.

 Solution Manager is a platform that enables SAP support engineers to facilitate root cause analysis on customer environments. Although it is required for most SAP customers, it is not currently required for SAP BusinessObjects customers

The Cost of Data

About a month ago I posted some thoughts on the cost of data, actually more from an ecological view but did state the point that going green was great from a corporate and social responsibility view but actually was good common sense to reduce the cost of storage.

Today an article talks about the rising cost of data storage in terms of rack prices. It shows both the UK and Austria as the highest prices and talks of large price increases in other locations. An immediate thought would be how can this be, given the economic changes and reducing energy prices? What lies behind this is the increase in the amount of data being generated and then the associated energy required to store it.

Today it is estimated that the world is generating 40 exabytes of information a year – that’s a huge figure!  That’s more in one year than the last 5000 years. And at Google alone there are 2.9 billion searches a month of that data which does beg the question – who was asked the questions before Google existed?

So the cost of data center storage is going up because its in short supply and your new cost also includes the vendors building more facilities. I commented on the shortage earlier and the key is data management. In a SAP sense you need to think about your archiving and I know some will say its cheaper just to buy more disk, but ultimately this will lead to performance problems. The SAP archiving process doesn’t just parcel up data and remove it from the “live” database it also deletes data that is no longer valid such as idocs that have completed their tasks. The other issue that exists is the cost of keeping that data live – energy, space and performance trade offs. Some data has legislative requirements that it is kept, and you need to consider how in 10 years or so you can access that data so the storage mediums and methods need very careful consideration.

But the fact remains “dead” data should either be deleted or stored at lowest possible cost – don’t ignore it.

Follow up on 3rd Party Maintenance

Following the debate on Twitter of 2 weeks ago Ray Wang has posted on his blog explaining where things are up to in this area, following discussions with various of his clients. Well worth a read and also worth considering his views on the subject.

SAP themselves have denied that they block the use of 3rd party maintenance.