Yesterday we had a great conversation with Zia Yusuf. Zia is the Executive Vice President, responsible for Global Ecosystem & Partner Group at SAP AG. It was an interesting conversation touching upon various dimensions of community, partners, SI's and social media. Zia & his team have a really tough job moving forward trying to change the perception and or reality of SAP in many areas like
- the lack of trained quality consultants,
- of being seen as a "innovation" laggard,
- changes required in the services partners to deliver to the SME and deliver around solutions like BBD.
- it being "white elephant" to implement & support,
What was promising to see was that they seem to be moving slowly but steadily in that direction but they have a lot of work in front of them and they are open to collaborating and discussing on ways to achieve these results. Below are the key / interesting points or thoughts from the discussion that came up during this conversation:
- The community initiatives are thriving, it has reached 2 million now. And its also evident with the growing popularity of the SAP mentors and the initiatives they seem to be taking. The "Blue Jerseys" are great guys.
- The inclusion of SI (System integrators) into the Eco hub. This is a big move. . I think there seems to be a broad set of initiatives that SAP is taking to make the system integrators play nice. They seem to be taking small but progressive steps towards reducing that 1:7 (license cost :implementation cost) ratio, without ruffling too many feathers at the SI's end. Strangely I think a lot of enabling of this will be dependent on the customers and how much they are willing to adopt these changes & enforce some of these things with their SI's & service providers. On the question of SAP Ecohub or SDN becoming a services market place its an interesting discussion for sometime in the future.
- Enabling the Smaller partners - As a part of the ecosystem organization , there seem to be a set of Partner service advisor's that are looking at enabling partners particularly the small / mid sized ones by providing them access to the SAP product technology road map etc etc. This seems to be the only side of the SAP organization that has grown in headcount.
- Factoid - There seems to be a total of 400k SAP consultants globally with 250K of them being in large or in the organized sector the other 150k are typically independent contractors.
- Zia's thoughts on characteristics of great SAP SI firms:
- Deeply involved with the evolution of the SAP Roadmap
- Training & certification,
- Dynamic in models offered,
- customer service-value driven,
- Ability to have a longer term relationship.
- A chance to collaborate - Zia is asking for "Use cases" that we can think of where "Social Media" will connect or interact with "Core business processes" that are a part of the Enterprise business processes. Specifically around crowdsourcing etc - Which will change the way business is done! Ideas welcome
- Community contribution into the product, the SDN / communities framework that was created for communities (SDN/BPX) is now a product called Collaborative Workspace and now has 1400 installations.
- SAP Safegaurding - Recently it has been communicated to all the SI's that they need to include / push safegaurding as a part of their implementations etc
- Job board has now been included in SAP Communities / SDN. First couple of days 180 jobs posted on it
Zia is now on twitter and you can follow him @ZiaYusuf
Update: Looks like this would be the last event for Zia with SAP, All the very best to him for all his future ventures.
Disclosure: SAP paid T&E to TechEd.