SAP’s Sapphire ’09 at a Glance

Written May 18th, 2009 by
Categories: CEO's Blog
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I attended SAP’s Sapphire conference in Orlando last week.  It was a joint conference with their ASUG (Americas SAP User Group) organization.  According to SAP, it was their largest Sapphire ever, although the vendors on the floor were constantly complaining about how slow it was.

SapphireGoodies I could have walked away with an entire wardrobe if I so desired.  Instead, I just came away with this meager booty.

Aside from the gifts, I did walk away with a few additional insights:

  1. Other than the folks at Digital River, who are primarily a B2C eCommerce provider, there were no vendors exclusively focused on B2B sellside eCommerce.
  2. In fact, of the hundreds of presentations  during the conference, only 3-4 were closely related to what b2b2dot0 does.
  3. Even SAP themselves barely mention Internet Sales in any of their marketing.  CRM is huge, but mostly in the lead management and service management applications.
  4. There was also an admission by several SAP solution consultants that there is a huge hole in their Internet Sales product line that exists in between their high end CRM solution and their “non-strategic” low end “webshop” solution.  I couldn’t agree more or couldn’t have been happier to hear their perspective.
  5. I was happy to bump into four friends at the show, one personal and three business.  The business friends are from three very pragmatic companies in the SAP echo system.  Global Software provides an Excel interface for SAP financial reporting.  Panaya Inc. is a must see company if you want to short circuit any issues that you’re likely to have when you upgrade your SAP system.  Jason Fair of Genesis Consulting gave a great presentation about applying Agile to SAP projects.  If indeed there were 10,000 people at SAPPHIRE, they should have been at Jason’s presentation instead of the handful that showed up!
  6. Eventually, b2b2dot0 is going to have to become part of the SAP partner universe.  I say that because items 1-4 in this post convince me that we have a larger opportunity than even I believed existed.  We also satisfy all of the prerequisite requirements: we provide a complimentary solution, we integrate via documented procedures and we have references.  All that remains is to cough up the fees and endure the certification process.  All that remains…
  7. Why do people think that the goal of attending a trade show is to get as many names in your database as possible?  Why clog up your sales and marketing arteries with waste?  I’ve been at this for close to 30 years and somethings just never change.  How much longer can these ostentatious trade shows continue to exist?
  8. I did manage to meet 2 or 3 people that I hope to follow up with this week and next.  If anything pans out with them, than it was well worth my investment of time and money to go to Orlando.  Otherwise, I relearn the same lesson year after year.  Trade shows are brutal.
  9. What’s up with Hasso Platner and his relationship with SAP Management?  There may have been 5K people in the audience during his keynote, but he basically was “conversing” with a handful of SAP managers.  While I found the content of his presentation fascinating (he really is a bright guy) his admonishment of SAP management was somewhere between bizarre and uncomfortable.
  10. SAP, “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”.

Sam