Every one of the dimensions mentioned before are tightly intertwined, as you must have understood by now. Platforming the suite through SOA evolution provides the way for the key processes to evolve more rapidly, and for additional functionality to be built more rapidly as composites. Simplification of deployment will cause massive adoption, providing a better platform for developers. the more functionality we get in the form of simple to adopt solutions – will cause more companies to go back to acquiring and deploying innovative processes for growth.
If flat world was the big wave of the last 5 years – shifting costs of operation away from high cost and into low cost – then the next wave of innovation will come in the form of automation. In a sense, what I’m saying is that some thing is actually cheaper than off-shore low cost operations – no-shoring. You can see it in many industries, when you want to beat cheap labor you automate production, and the same is bound to happen in the IT industry. I do not predict an end to the off-shoring movement, quite the contrary, it is here to stay and will continue to grow strong. There will be a synthesis between the two movements as certain tasks will get automated, or enabled through smarter tools and improved packaged solutions. As we move up the downward escalator (as Geoff Moore describes in Dealing with Darwin) the old non-valued parts of enterprise software landscape context will be designed out, and new parts will enable faster operation and innovation.
That’s where the eco system comes into play – what the open platform enables is the next generation of edge-processes. By simplifying consumption and freeing innovation budgets the eco system will flourish again with new products that can be deployed much faster across the enterprise. The core solution platform with the strongest catalog of Eco-system solution always wins. Ask Microsoft if you don’t believe me, that’s how they wrote the Windows story. To a certain degree, if SAP holds the source of axis for the box, the Eco-system players are the ones holding the outer vertex of the box, and pulling on it outwards – expanding the volume and value of the eco-system.
How far is this vision from reality? well, you can easily measure. Check to see how many suite cores are actively deployed at accounts (last I counted they are adding thousands of ERP installations every year). Check to see how much of the system is covered through enterprise services and how many NetWeaver installs are going live (about 500 a month, right now), and check how simple it is to get a full suite up and running (my goal was to do it in under 7 days). Finally, check how many eco-system solutions are made available by partners of SAP, and how many of them had a valuable exit, selling to SAP or even going public.
The combination of SOA, SaaS (whether on premise or off premise), new hardware (cloud architecture) and interdependent eco-system of innovation is the foundation of next generation of enterprise, or as I called it Enterprise 3G (E3G). Hasso discussed some of the characteristics in his keynote that opened sapphire Atlanta, If you read through the last five posts (sorry for going long on you – but you always know you’re going to get that long when you come to my keynotes) – you can get the blueprint for how I see SAP and the industry going forward. I hope I end up correct. I hope SAP still wins at the end – for the sake of our customers.