SAP has an elaborate and growing ecosystem of services, software, hardware partners …and more recently communities like SDN and BPX. I spent time in a breakout session at the Influencer summit which provided overviews of various elements of this ecosystem, and discussions with various executives who run the elements.
Impressive the vision and recruiting power SAP has around its ecosystem. But for a vendor that almost got destroyed by the TCO largely attributable to its ecosystem in the mid 90s, it still cannot show enough tangible business metrics from the ecosystem
During the session I asked questions from my blog – few new ones - and for most part I got defensive answers from SAP
a) Why is systems integration still so expensive after 35,000 SAP customers and countless upgrades?
b) What has SAP done to encourage its offshore partners to develop “fuel hedges” around their SAP practices?
c) When will SDN show up in lower support costs?
d) Why not allow some of the services ecosystem to officially provide third party maintenance for those SAP customers who are in sunset mode?
I often get the sense SAP likes to brag about its ecosystem. Numbers fly – we have 1,200 SI partners, more than 1,000,000+ SDN members etc. Justifications abound ”our partners deserve their premiums because after all our stuff is complex, demand is always greater than supply” etc. etc.
You want bragging rights, you get an egosystem. You show demonstrable customer value through growing and aggressively managed partner choice, now that’s an ecosystem.