Today’s keynote delivered by SAP co-founder, Hasso Plattner, was quite interesting and for me, informative. Hasso is, by all dimensions, the original technical icon of SAP. He serves in multiple roles as technical emeritus, Supervisory Board Chairman, advisor and professor. Readers who have seen Hasso present at previous conferences can conclude that he has a unique style, can sometimes extend a subject with vast amounts of detail, and is never, ever scripted. For me, Hasso brings a collection of grounding points between the historic legacy of the company, the technology foundation, and the future path for SAP.
Rather than talk around the announced delay in the planned release of SAP Business by Design, Hasso embraced the subject. Rather than talk around ERP upgrades as nasty and costly disruption for customers, he acknowledged that this was no longer acceptable. He clarified that he was “selling the idea, not the solution” for this audience. The talk outlined the original design principles for SAP Business by Design in leading-edge transactional, analytical, and virtual search capabilities. He admitted that the original design principles called for limited functionality in order to enhance the hosted by SAP infrastructure footprint, and in retrospect, customers really wanted more functionality in this application suite. Many a software demo assistant has been white knuckled attempting to follow a script in a Hasso talk, but Ian Kimball did a fantastic job of providing humor, interplay, and cool technology overviews to today’s supporting demos of planned search, mash-up services, and on-demand analytical analysis features that can come from this new suite. Hasso stressed the critical role that “in-memory database technology” will contribute to the performance of the suite, and made a bold statement that yesterday’s on-stage demo by Business Objects of retrieving one billion lines of code in mere seconds was one of the most impressive software demos in the company’s history. I also had a similar reaction- see yesterday’s Part 1 post.
Today’s keynote outlined a bold and exciting objective for SAP Business by Design, but the real proof will be in more timely execution and delivery, especially in light of SAP’s competitors march in this same direction. Hasso concluded that SAP has the business advantage in-hand, and made the analogy that the company’s in-memory technology will have the same industry impact as the Apple iPod has had in consumer electronics. We all will obviously have to wait to observe the results.