I spent the day at SAP's TechEd in Las Vegas. It announced "crowd sourcing" of innovations with a new relationship with InnoCentive. Its SDN developer community keeps growing and had energy to match that of this vibrant city. I learned SAP Labs has many jigsaw pieces like its Imagineering Group I wrote about last week.
All this is goodness.
But as I sat next to Larry Dignan and watched Demo Jam (by the way he has a very funny report here), where finalist teams from SAP, its customers and partners presented innovative developments leveraging social networks to GPS, it hit me many of the innovations developed by small, almost amateur, teams only highlight how stodgy SAP has been by not delivering them on its own. Ironically, the winner was an enterprise-wide spell check capability. The first spell checkers date back to 1970.
Apple's team, one of the finalists, showed its "innovation" - how to make the iPhone work with its R/3 release 4.7. Here is one of the most innovative companies in the world basically telling the world it feels little hurry to upgrade to SAP's newer versions.
All this is puzzling.
Update : Shame on me if I do not acknowledge what the teams showcased
was innovative - like the Canadian Pacific team use of GPS to guide workers
to specific points on their thousands of miles. I also thought the ESME
team sponsored by Siemens SIS used pretty contemporary social stuff.
SAP cannot dream up every innovation but the fact that they did not iPhone access to SAP or that the spell checker won the Demo Jam contest when the first one in the industry came out in late 70s was jarring to me - as was my reaction I highlighted above