Tonight I’m finding that I can’t get at SDN, but that also means BPX, and BOC. I can’t remember having seen that problem before  – it must have been off line for well over an hour and has been displaying the message below.  It came back at 2135GMT .

SCN Offline

SCN Offline

SAP UK & Ireland User Group now on Wikipedia

Our user group has now been accepted as an article within Wikipedia.

Greed got us here today

There’s nothing wrong with making a decent profit – that’s what ensures sustainability and growth. But the relative size of profit to the turnover (ie the margin) is what got us into all the trouble we have today.  The greed of some individuals and some organisations has forced us into today’s recession and almost depression. What is so disturbing is how this has largely gone unchecked – most governments are now looking to more control over the financial sector to ensure that they don’t lose their way ever again. 

Dennis Howlett’s article today for that reason resonates with me. He draws a resounding similarity between the actions of the once great banking institutions and their fate, and the large software vendors of today.  I hope that Dennis doesn’t mind this direct quotation from his blog but it really sums up where we are.

“Denial is a common attribute of those who believe they are unassailable but as Wall Street discovered, no-one is too big to fail except through the complicity of those who let them continue. The applications vendor consolidation of the last five or so years was fine in the good times when the idea of having a single throat to choke seemed sensible. It led to what I believe is a corrupted industry that refuses to give customers relief. We’re living through disruptive economic conditions yet that doesn’t seem to impact the mega vendors’ relentless pursuit of Wall Street approval. That cannot be right. It cannot continue.”

Some (more) thoughts on Maintenance

Dennis Howlett’s latest blog entry has some interesting thoughts around maintenance. As he says, these days, it’s almost impossibleto have a conversation around SAP without the “M” word being raised. His thoughts on the CoE concept certainly ring a bell with me. It’s always been an issue in my mind where some customers operate really slick streamlined operations that present little if any SAPNet demand and essentially subsidise the ones that don’t.

UG Conference 2009 – Manchester 23/24 November – update

Today, along with members of the UG executive, I visited and reviewed the Conference facilities for the 2009 conference . This year it will be held at Manchester Central. This is the relatively new name for the conference facilities that most people probably remember as GMEX.  These are modern custom designed facilities which will enhance the whole conference experience that we provide. The SAP User Group will be taking over the entire facility for the duration of the conference which promises to be better than anything we have done before. It includes a custom built auditorium which guarantees everyone can both hear and see the keynote speakers. Aligned to this is a much larger exhibition space giving us the opportunity to house more than 70 exhibitors.  Probably the best facilities we have ever used for the conference. 

The Custom Auditoriun

The Custom Auditorium

By going to Manchester we have been able to guarantee prices are equal to or lower than last year as we are very mindful of cost constraints that the current economic climate places on organisations. Keep an eye on the UG Website as shortly you will be able to see how you can beat last years tremendous value and cost. For this reason we expect demand to be high when our registration site starts up. So two things to remember – book early to make sure you secure your places, and book early to take advantage of the early special rate deals.

For those that were there last year, you will know the great value the conference delivered, but for those that are wondering whether to attend and are not sure whether to take advantage of the great deals that will be there for early bookings then watch the video here to get a flavour and hear what others say.

This year along with normal focus of SAP Business Suite, we plan to be including SAP Business Objects as a stream and exhibitors focus, along with SAP Business One so the product coverage will be further extended. Also planned are a CIO Forum on day 1 and a focus on Strategy on Day 2.

So more in the package with a price that’s either the same or lower than last year if you book early – which satisfies our criteria of giving our membership more value each year.

The bigger exhibition area

The bigger exhibition area

Security and Offshoring……

Following on from the issues of Satyam and the risk that exist for work being done in that part of the world  comes another story highlighting this risk. This time instead of corporate risk , the risk is to individuals. The story, on the BBC, highlights the selling of customer credit card details from Indian call centres.This common theme appeared when customers were buying software from Symantec.

The article includes video of the data being passed, and includes comment from an Indian lawyer that until India has some robust data protection legislation this is likely to continue.

The bottom line is that when outsourcing, make sure that you take an holistc view of the challenges of the process that you are moving including national legislation.

New Blog about SAP Enterprise Support….

After a period of silence, SAP Enterprise Support has surfaced again…..this timefrom an SAP Mentor, Dennis Howlett. In his blog, published on ZDNet he examines the issues around the introduction of Enterprise Support and the linkage to SAP Solution manager and RunSAP. 

Dennis also passes comments on the SAP drive to force certification upon all those involved in the SAP world. My view on this is probably the same as many others. The drive by SAP on certification is a long term aim to reduce the number of failures in the SAP implementation world – nothing wrong with that. But then I would compare it with driving a car, yes I have passed my driving test and have a licence but that doesn’t stop me crashing my car. So I know how to do something, but that doesn’t make me good at it! So getting certification in the form that it exists today doesn’t guarantee success; what is needed is a two phase test and real live experience certification to get closer to what is needed.

First, understand the product and prove it, secondly understand the implementation and change process and last then prove that you can deliver both for real….successfully!! So, if you like, a blend of theoretical/academic and also vocational skills.

A discovery that could change our world

A major new way to make Lithium-ion batteries could spell some incredible changes for electrically powered items. Some very clever detective work at MIT identified some strange behaviours in the charging process and then found a way to remove these. The result, a 20 fold increase in the speed of battery charging!

In a previous post I talked about the work of Shai Aghassi (formerly of SAP) and his company Better Place.  Without a doubt this will further enhance the work that he is doing. It makes the whole concept of electric vehicles more and more practical with shorter recharge cycles.  Check out the video to the right along with the link in this article to the battery development and I think you’ll agree we’re not far away!

Software maintenance……choices

Today on CNN comes a story about Oracle. It reflects on the value of software maintenance and highlights companies making an exit to 3rd party suppliers. It has a great title:

 “Oracle’s Golden Goose, Maintenance Revenue, Contains Flight Risk”

The premise of the debate is that software vendors have never had it so good but the realities of life at the moment are that now organisations are reviewing value and coming to conclusions. This is leading to some moving to the likes of Rimini Street and to SaaS providers. Internally within organisations these savings can have the same effect as up to ten times the equivalent sales effect so are warmly received by CEO’s. 

There is a reality that better procurement prices are the only way out when sales are dropping so I would echo the sentiments of the article that competition is likely within the maintenance zone, especially when the margins are so high.

iPhone now for SAP?

About a month ago I reported a story that Leo Apotheker was sceptical about the iPhone and its use in conjunction with SAP. Today however in a complete 360 degree about turn SAP announced that they were to work with Sybase to create connectivity with the iPhone. At the same SAP were quick to point out that they were focusing on the three main areas of RIM, iPhone and Windows mobile.

Personally still not sure about iPhone for business but that’s  a personal preference!