During the blogger meeting yesterday with SAP Co-CEO Leo Apotheker, the majority of the time was not spent on the new Business Suite 7 announcement but on the topics of SAP project overruns and its services ecosystem.
Alternatively defensive and feisty, there was piss and vinegar that I hope Leo turns in action.
It started off with Leo accusing me of spreading "rumors" about SAP overruns and little productivity improvement in SI workplans over the years. Forget that the legions of staff in the SAP ecosystem and the hundreds of billions of dollars and euros and yens in SAP customer TCO models confirm my "rumors". Have done so for 15+ years now.
To my point that SAP' efforts have done little to improve productivity in data migration, user acceptance testing and other implementation phases "around" core SAP functions, he proceeded to discuss tools SAP has delivered in many of the areas.
What about the fact that these tools have not driven significant productivity in SI proposals, Leo bravely said "“If we believe [a project] takes 500 days and another partner says it’s 5,000 days I’ll do it for 500 and a fixed fee.”
To our point that in the field it often appears partner interests trump those of the customer - Leo was at his passionate best "“I’ve been in the field all my life. That monster out there (the field) is my creature. Loyalty is to the customer. The obligation is to the customer,” and "I don’t give a s**t if it’s Accenture or IBM. I care about the customer."
He is fixated on consultant certification as a way to handle partner and project overrun management. Clearly needed, but there are few details on how that would get implemented. When I asked if certification would be at the BS7 component level or at the previous modular level, he was not sure.
Also, he only seems to have a vague notion of what is happening in the post- live application outsourcing market that the offshore vendors have grown in to a $ 10 billion+ a year market around his products.
Leo did accomplish two things during the meeting. He picked up on my poor French (he is fluent in 5 languages). And the time on implementation and overrun discussion meant that we did not have time to focus on the maintenance rate hike and related customer dissatisfaction issues. A discussion which would have likely brought out even more passion.
Oh, well next session.
In the past, SAP has listened and promised. And listened and promised. And listened and promised. I look forward to the opposite - me being accused of rumor mongering (and poor German) but SAP taking action.
PS: Thanks to Larry Dignan of ZDNet for taking good notes during the session. Leo's quotes are from his post here
Update: Leo pointed out some of this conversation should have remained "private". See my follow up post here