Back in May SAP held its annual Sapphire conference simultaneously in Frankfurt and Orlando. The self proclaimed “IT industry’s premier customer conference” featured once again keynotes by SAP executives, customer presentations and key sessions. For all the promotion and clamor of these events, the entire focus is not on the customer, it is on SAP. It’s SAP’s annual chance to propagandize their failures and promote their successes. In my own attendance at these events not once did I ever feel it was anything more than an SAP beauty contest. The contest, of course, is for publicity and public awareness. There are only two rules required to do a customer presentation at Sapphire:
- It must be about whatever SAP is pushing hard in the sales channel.
- It must make SAP look good.
As long as you follow those two rules, you are welcome to insert a modicum of technical merit and brag about how great you are. And while my criticism is most likely not appreciated, and it may cost me, I think SAP’s success has caused them to become careless and lose touch with their customers. Because of this, they are at risk of missing market opportunities that will be exploited by niche competitors. Even if you are dominant industry player, your fall happens faster than your ascent, ask General Motors.