by Thomas Wailgum

Questions As SAP Users Conference Starts

Apr 23, 20072 mins
Enterprise Applications

I arrived yesterday afternoon to Atlanta for SAP’s Sapphire ‘07 event and the American SAP users

group conference. I plan on checking in over the next three days with some observations, notes from important presentations and what I’m hearing from SAP executives and CIOs who use SAP’s products.

It should be interesting. From a few conversations I’ve had and some bits and pieces I’ve picked up on the flight, on the subway and at the hotel, there’s a simmering undercurrent of frustration with SAP’s products that users hope will be addressed this week. Some of the things included continual integration, user interface and upgrade challenges.

One of the top questions I’m going to ask people this week is this: What do you expect will happen to your SAP ERP system? Will it become legacy that doesn’t change (like mainframes), or will you keep upgrading, or switch to another provider or seek an alternative to paying 20 percent of license fees each year for maintenance and support?

Other things top of mind: How will the abrupt departure of Shai Agassi affect SAP’s future strategy? Why is SAP so hot on small and midmarket? And how about that lawsuit Oracle filed against SAP alleging corporate espionage?

Speaking of Oracle, stepping out the doors of the airport where tons of people were trying to get their cabs, rental cars, buses or a subway ride, I couldn’t help noticing the Oracle advertisements (bright red and white banners) everywhere. They proclaimed: #1 Public Sector. #1 Customer Relationship Management. #1 Supply Chain Management. #1 Business Applications. The positioning and frequency of the ads didn’t seem like a coincidence.

Off this morning to a tour of Coca-Cola’s facilities and their SAP deployment. Later this afternoon, Hasso Plattner, SAP’s co-founder, speaks. Should be good.

-Thomas Wailgum