Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Snake Oil or Wonder Drug - The art of the possible in SAP

Today is the first day of SAPPHIRE / TechEd in Madrid and the key note was full of how IT could be with the help of SAP. I was also lucky enough to attend TechEd in Las Vegas where the message was similar if somewhat biased towards how SAP HANA could help.

Now I can see how this "Nexus of Forces" (Mobile, Cloud, In-Memory, Social) could change the way IT works for a business, but my problem is the yawning gap between the vision the IT I talk to most weeks.

I covered some of the problems that exist in my last blog on 3rd World IT, but even without these problems where would you start if you were a CIO.

  • Do you turbo charge with SAP HANA
  • Mobilize with SAP Mobile Platform
  • Automate with SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration
  • Beautify with Gateway / Personas / UI5
  • Move it all to the cloud and take part in the Ariba network
or do nothing cos it's all too hard to figure out how to move under the weight of your existing systems which are sucking resources away from innovation.

I think I see 3 general paths to take :-

1) It's all snake oil : Assume that all of the benefits above are currently snake oil or will take some time to be "affordable". In this strategy you should sweat the assets you already have and make sure you can run them at the lowest possible cost using commodity resources.

2) Fool Rush In : Assume that all this stuff is amazing and will transform your business overnight. Start many parallel projects and implement the dream. You will need a crack team of technology savie people who can solve problems on the fly and make this stuff work.

3) Step back and Plan : Assume that some of the above stuff might help but go through an exercise to plan where it will help the most - and start projects from this list. For this you will need some Enterprise Architects and a crack team of technology savie people who can solve problems on the fly and make this stuff work.

I think the wise path is 3, but I see too many SAP customers stuck at 1 (often because of badly written outsource contracts).

No comments: