Helmuth Guembel and Sapience 2009

Written November 1st, 2009 by
Categories: CEO's Blog
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Helmuth Guembel is an iconoclastic ex-Gartner Analyst who is currently a partner at Strategy Partners. I learned about Helmuth last week as a result of Dennis Howlett’s “Irregular Enterprise” blog post entitled “SAP’s feet put to the fire”.  This led me to Helmuth’s blog where I learned that he is taking on one of my personal favorite battles, SAP’s licensing policies towards internet users. I instantly became a fan of Helmuth, and was compelled to reach out to him, if for no other reason than to encourage him on.  We spent an hour on skype a few days later.


Helmuth was as much the passionate “David” to SAP’s “Goliath” in person as he is in print. I got the real sense that we were kindred spirits, fighting similar battles.  While Helmuth clearly recognizes and admires SAP’s strengths as a software developer, he deplores them for monopolistically taking advantage of their size and marketshare.  It seems as if he, like us at b2b2dot0, believe that the battle in the marketplace should be based on value, not sheer size and power.

Helmuth’s sense of justice (and capitalistic instincts) inspires him to give a voice to the cries of SAP’s customers who are:

  1. demanding fairness and value in their licensing and maintenance agreements
  2. looking to save money (maintenance and support costs) in these tough economic times
  3. trying to maximize the value of their SAP investments
  4. eager to leverage the open source and cloud computing movements to their advantage

In that regard, Helmuth is producing a conference entitled Sapience 2009 in Cambridge, MA on Dec 8-9. He has assembled a star studded, and thought provoking, agenda that is guaranteed to save attendees money…and grief…when they get back home to their companies.  He is targeting Sapience 2009 to:

“CIOs, CFOs, and IT Decision makers seeking to escape the limitations of a strongly vendor controlled application landscape.”

I offered to lend my voice to Helmuth’s conference, but with the likes of (ex)CEOs from PeopleSoft, SAP USA and Rimini Street, I guess he didn’t want me to steal the show from them :-).   Nevertheless, I love the attitude and information that Helmuth is bringing to the SAP market and wish him nothing but success.  I know that each of our clients and prospects would benefit from his research and events.

On a related note, my conversation with Helmuth made me realize that I’ve been quite fortunate to have met many interesting people in the process of growing b2b2dot0 over the course of the last couple of years.  It’s amazing how many people it actually takes to nurture a growing company.

I’m not talking about all of our employees (and their families), suppliers, business partners and clients, who we clearly are indebted to for our very existence.  I’m actually talking about people who we don’t necessarily exchange money with, but exchange market intelligence, experiences, opportunities and maybe just encouragement with.  Some of these interactions are fleeting and some are longer lasting. But what they all have in common is an unstated belief that there is karmic value in sharing information with one another.  I’m going to dub these people “Friends of b2b2dot0” and from time to time I’ll talk about them here on this blog.

In that regard, I would also like to extend a shout out to another “Friend of b2b2dot0″…Spencer Kupferman of Global Software.  He recently led his company through the SAP certification process and was kind enough to share with me what that experience was like and what his expectations are for being a part of that program.  I’m sure we’ll be back in touch with one another in the coming months to check on each other’s progress.  For after all, isn’t that what “friends are for”?

Sam