I am at SAP's SAPPHIRE conference this week. I am not going into all of the key themes from the conference. We will be publishing a more comprehensive event note after SAPPHIRE in Vienna (we have more analysts attending there due to a conflict with Gartner Spring Symposium this week). However, I wanted to comment on one key theme.
That theme is SAP as a platform for Business Network Transformation. What is Business Network Transformation? Well, it is the ability for a company to work with business partners (e.g., customers, suppliers, etc. -- the network) in a more agile fashion to gain and sustain competitive advantage. It is an admirable goal. However, it is a hard one to achieve. Any transformation requires the right strategy, people, process, technology, and work environment. SAP provides the technology and support for business processes, but it does not provide the rest. Arguably, SAP can point to its ecosystem efforts and say that partners can provide the necessary services to fill in the gaps. However, it is not a simple endeavor as the efforts in Business Process Engineering in the 90s has shown (and this was within the four walls of the enterprise). I will be interested to see the customer examples that SAP puts forth to demonstrate how they enabled this. Good customer examples were lacking at the Industry Analyst Summit last December.