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Enterprise hits & misses - October 7

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed October 6, 2013
Jon's cheeky end-of-weekly on which articles hit (or didn’t) on diginomica and beyond - for the week ending October 4, 2013.

A weekly wrap on which articles hit (or didn’t) on diginomica and beyond.

This is a 'Jon on the road' edition, live from Progress Exchange in Boston.

Cheerful Chubby Man
diginomica hit: SAP BW on HANA trial at Amazon – will they come? by Den Howlett

quotage: 'Vijay says that Vishal Sikka, executive board member SAP recently shared a vision where access to enterprise technology should take cues and inspiration from Apple’s App Store. That is a huge ambition, given the size and complexity of enterprise applications.'

myPOV: In the first of a two part video commentary series, Den takes a harder look at an under-the-radar SAP news story, the BW on HANA Amazon trial (also see part two, SAP BW on Amazon trial - what's next?). Speaking with Vijay Vijayasankar of SAP via remote video (Vijay's team was the driving force behind this new offering), the discussion underscored a critical point: can enterprise applications be as easy to deploy, test and develop on as Executive Board Member Vishal Sikka envisions?

In itself, the BW on HANA Amazon trial is a milestone that should, in theory, have a bottom line result by simplifying trial deployments from 3 months to 30 minutes. But the real victory for SAP is triumphing over its own internal red tape to get impactful products out the door faster. From the get-go, this project involved constant feedback from customers, SAP Mentors, and the community as a whole. Vijay told me (paraphrase): 'I will never develop without that customer feedback loop ever again.'

Our own Phil Wainewright took it one step further by challenging SAP to put HANA on Open Compute. That discussion moved to Twitter, where Den put the question directly to Vishal Sikka. Sikka responded: @dahowlett @philww @diginomica Agree *TOTALLY*. We're working on it.  Open Infra + Hana can get us true virtualization + real-time...'

Lest we get the impression it's all perfume and go-lives over at SAP, Den also published a much more sobering anecdotal piece Partner message to SAP: support us and we'll support you. The anecdote is far from the only one of its kind Den and I have heard. The enterprise incumbents have their work cut out for them. But if SAP is going to get projects like the BW on HANA trial out in record time and push towards HANA on open infrastructure, they are not to be counted out. This sets the table for SAP TechEd Las Vegas in two weeks.

Happy children eating apple
diginomica pick: Open Compute and the enterprise data center by Phil Wainewright

quotage: 'As more and more large enterprises consolidate computing into mega datacenters like GM’s to leverage the economies of scale and flexibility of cloud computing, so the penetration of Open Compute designs into those datacenters seems destined to rise.'

myPOV: In some of Phil's finest diginomica work to date, he looks at how cloud data centers are evolving - in ways that have surprised even him. As he says in the follow up piece on HANA and Open Compute: 'Perhaps the gulf between cloud and traditional enterprise computing is not as unbridgeable as I have previously portrayed, at least when operating at a sufficiently large scale.' In that piece, Phil also explains why virtualization - thought to be a hallmark of cloud computing, is an unnecessary overhead to Facebook's model.

As an aside, I thought this was one of the strongest weeks on diginomica from a content perspective, so have a browse. It was especially neat to see the BW on HANA and Open Compute issues converge into a conversation that pulled in disparate viewers with those in middle of it. That should be a prime goal of enterprise commentary. If we are writing on some kind of island outside the fray, we're heading toward that dreaded term of irrelevance: punditry. Oh, and for those enterprise conference goers out there, make sure to check out Stuart's definitive Survivor's guide to the technology conference.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
Chris Kanaracus and Doug Henschen did big data right this week by examining customer use cases. Henschen looked at how three companies achieved big data success; Kanaracus reported on Monsanto's $1 billion bet on big data analytics. One case from Henschen: MetLife pulling data from 70(!) internal systems onto MongoDB for a '360 degree customer view.'

Other standouts

Honorable mention: this contrarian piece, '10x Developer is Not a Myth' piece, sparked a Twitter debate when I posted it. The End of the Power User is the most original take I have seen on the push for Twitter/Facebook monetization that has been frequently debated with the Twitter IPO looming. On the multi-media front, the DSLayered guys have moved to videotaping their SAP BI discussions via Google Hangouts with their SBOUC and SAP TechEd extravaganza.


Overworked businessman
When I see a post called 'Top 5 Cloud ERP Vendors', I am intrigued. When it leads to a lackadaisical post like this one, I am disappointed. Part of the problem not investigated by this piece is one of definition: does cloud ERP include MRP or not? (MRP was a core capability that fueled the original evolution of on-premise ERP).

I see five products in a quickie chart that are not remotely comparable from a customer perspective. This is page view preening at its worst, an attempt to trick Google into thinking this is some kind of encyclopedic reference page when at best it is a Yahoo Answers type of post. The bitter part is that Google too often makes these mistakes and assigns authority to half-baked pages, not to pick further on Yahoo Answers or eHow. Discerning readers unite!

Officially off-topic

Best blog post title of the week is a toss-up between Six Pixels of Separation's Todd Henry Wants You To Die Empty and Microsoft Investors Want To Ctrl+Alt+Del Bill Gates. Having just watched World War Z, I'm especially sensitive to signs of the end times, and I saw some doozies this week, including Facebook building a company town (with any luck Google won't put this one on the map) and this cheetah-like robot that should have no trouble tracking you down and killing you by the time they fine tune the design. I also don't know what in creation to make of this web site, but it can't be good (turn your volume down before clicking).

Meantime, the studies on how Facebook depresses its own users keep coming. I didn't even know there was such a thing as an Instagram faux pas. But the snark I dished out here is nothing compares to this Tower of London Tour Guide (via Den Howlett - and not safe for work).

On a more useful side, Jeff Nolan shares his hard-won view on giving presentations that don't suck. And if you haven't experimented with IFTTT automation, I recommend giving it a shot. Finally, this piece by Chaz Ebert on how actor Rob Schneider made a peace with Roger Ebert's skewering of his movies before Ebert died is both inspirational and instructive. See you next time.

Which #ensw pieces of merit did I miss? Let us know in the comments.

Most of these articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed. “myPOV” is borrowed with reluctant permission from the ubiquitous Ray Wang.

Image credits: Cheerful Chubby Man © RA Studio, Happy Children © Anna Omelchenko, Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, King Checkmate © mystock88photo - all from

Disclosure: SAP and are both diginomica premier partners as of this writing. Jon has served as an SAP Mentor volunteer since 2008.

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