At Sapphire next week, I am sure we will hear lots about future stuff. I am more interested in the present - what customers can see for the $ 2 billion + they have spent on R&D since this May 2004 interview in Computerworld with Hasso Plattner. And if the humility and focus Dr. Plattner talks about still continues - or what shifts have occurred. See you in Orlando if you are going - a number of enterprise bloggers are going - the SAP event wiki with blogger info is here
Here were some of his comments
"We have reached some solid ground with [changing] the behavioral patterns [of coding] and how we should engage with customers and with other people. We have to be much more complex: We build our applications on top of Microsoft Office and multimedia applications and embedded systems and RFID and Global Positioning Systems, and then there is our ERP and CRM and SCM applications. In these new areas of applications, we have to connect with all these other applications, and we need different design styles and techniques and different people.
(Project Vienna)'s a development project -- not a product, like Longhorn -- to develop a consistent piece of functionality and move it a piece at a time into the mySAP [suite]. Project Vienna involves finding engines [software-enabled processes], and if we have multiple ones, we can build one to serve multiple purposes. Vienna is a big project.
We could have done things differently and not gone after the superlarge customers. When you have opportunities with those customers, it's hard to say no. We could have had higher penetration with midsize customers. We will accelerate [adoption] with small customers. Success stories are the only way -- testimonials by small companies who say, "I have done it, and it changed my company."
(CRM)'s one of the key components of our applications, probably 20% to 30% of our business. If you improve sales, you're a hero, and most companies can use CRM. Not everyone uses supply chain management.
(Hosted CRM)'s an entry-level service, which is good for small companies to experiment with, but I can't see it being an ultimate solution. I'm a bit pessimistic about hosted software. We had a very expensive experiment, Pandesic, a joint venture, that couldn't make money. We were probably too early. We'll probably revisit that -- we won't exclude it from our future.
If you think you are untouchable, that's not good. I think the tough years in the dot-com era changed SAP."