SAP's Most Recent "Big News" Teleconference, Translated for Mere Mortals

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10:07 The ominous voice is back: "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Leo Apotheker." Smattering of applause. Leo thanks everyone like he just won an Oscar. And the big news is...the launch of Business Suite 7!

Here's the official word from SAP: Business Suite 7 software is "a next-generation software suite that helps businesses to optimize their performance and reduce IT cost. The new SAP Business Suite is designed to ease upgrades and help customers reduce IT costs with enhancement packages; gain stronger insights with select analytics capabilities from the SAP Business Objects portfolio; and achieve end-to-end process excellence through the modular deployment of industry best practices and service-oriented architecture (SOA)." Got that?

I'll be calling it B.S. 7 for the remainder of the diary.

10:09 Leo says: "I would dare to say if banks would have had information systems as good as many of the companies represented here, we might not be in the situation we are in today. And you can quote me on that." Oh, I will. I will.

10:12 "If you do not have flexibility in your system, you cannot adjust fast enough," Leo says. "Not adjusting fast enough might be the kiss of death."

10:13 "Leading analysts, some of which are here in the room today, rank SAP now consistently as the leading BI vendor, and thank you for giving us that credit. *And we will continue to 'sponsor' your research projects." (*He didn't actually say that last part.) I need more peanuts.

10:17: So why is B.S. 7 a big deal? It's the next chapter of SAP's success story, says Leo. "We are going to give upgrades the kiss of death." (Again with the "kiss of death"?)

10:18 Alert! Alert! New buzzword: "We will be announcing 'value scenarios' today," says Leo. I wish I were bi-lingual, like Leo. At Sapphire a couple years ago, he told me that the primary language at SAP's HQ in Waldron Germany is English. German is second.

10:19 Great point by Leo: "We all like to talk about CRM, love to talk about ERP and all kinds of other three-letter acronyms...the only people who never understood those are businesspeople." (Nodding head.) "We will want to talk the language of these people." (Amen.)

Leo digresses a bit, and then says that he wants to stop talking so that he does not steal Jim Hagemann Snabe's thunder.

10:20 So here's comes Jim "The Thunder" Hagemann Snabe, who's going to get into some technical details of B.S. 7. I met Jim H.S. two years ago, and I still have a problem correctly pronouncing Jim H.S.'s last names. (And this is coming from someone whose last name has been mutilated scores of times during the last 30 or so years, so I say that with a ton of empathy.)

10:21 Jim H.S. says, "I was flying in from Europe yesterday morning...and boy are my arms tired!" I wish he said the second part. He didn't. Instead he talks about how depressing it is because of all the bad economic news. But he's an optimistic guy. So we need to be optimistic. He's got some positive news. (I'm guessing it's going to involve B.S. 7.)

10:24 Jim H.S. going to the PowerPoint. All software vendors love to use the word "leader," as in "we are the leader in business analytics," as Jim H.S. just pointed out. SAP does have 82,000 customers worldwide. They need 18,000 more to get to the oft-stated 100,000 customer goal by 2010. Ouch.

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