Archive | August 2008

SE #5 – SAP BOBJ Influencer Summit – Jonathan Becher


In my second attempt I managed to finally get Jonathan on camera (with audio) to talk about SAP, Business Objects and the idea behind “1 + 1 = 3”, a great chat looking at merging markets and tackling the challenges of two powerful companies and how the synergies make for an awesome looking road forward!

Jonathan is also a blogger, so be sure to check out his blog where he describes the blog as,

A primary goal of this blog is provide information about performance management in a vendor-neutral way. The inspiration for the title of this blog, Manage By Walking Around, can be found in my inagural post. Because the term performance management gets bandied around by many different people to describe many different things, in some of my earlier posts (Operational, Financial or IT and What’s In A Name) I try to disambiguate the different uses, but in reality confusion still reigns in the market. Perhaps it’s a small consolation that continued confusion means continued reading of this blog…

SAP SME Deep Dive, TAM Ceramics talks about their go live


While in Boston the other week I was able to stick around to attend the SAP SME Deep Dive, this was a day dedicated to SAP’s SME market space and they filled it with customers and partners telling their own stories. Dennis Howlett a fellow Irregular was in attendance as well and has a great post about a SAP All-in-One implementation. For Starship Enterprisey having Stacey and Mona from SAP setup an interview with an actual customer was a first overall let alone a first in the SME market space. The customer is TAM Ceramics LLC and I got to sit down for a chat with George Bilkey.

George Bilkey is President of TAM Ceramics LLC currently implementing SAP Business ByDesign. Bilkey has had extensive experience of ERP implementations in the ceramic manufacturing and was previously holding management positions in global companies including Ferro Corporation, Washington Mills, and Saint Gobain. He holds a BS of the Ceramic Engineering, Alfred University and an MBA from the State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Management. Bilkey also holds executive level positions with key trade associations and groups.

Before I even turned on the camera though I got to know some things about what it is George and TAM does, TAM’s mission is to focus on being the quality leader in the zirconia market and to expand into new markets. With a dedicated highly seasoned labor force, low overhead and costs, the company is positioned to reclaim the market volume leader in the industry. TAM sees continued expansion in both the investment casting and refractories industries and will greatly expand their reach in these areas along with a focused effort on increasing the Titanates business. Working with existing and new customers to provide new innovative solutions that are customized for their specific use, TAM has increased annual sales for 2008 by over 30% compared to 2007 in less than four weeks.

After awhile I decided I should probably start the camera rolling and hear about the pain points, successes, positives and the negatives of an aggressive two month implementation of SAP Business ByDesign!

Nanomonk #1 & #2

Nanomonk was a RedMonk event hosted by Adobe and SAP. It took place back in July in London and was a simple one day event.

Small and intimate group of experts, customers, partners, analysts and consultants the day was a bit unplanned and certainly not rehearsed and the result was an amazing conversation around the world of the enterprise, RIA and community.

I recorded the entire day and you can check out the video replays here and here. Each video is about an hour (and some change) long but the content has gotten great feedback and I certainly think it’s worth the watch if you are interesting in the various technologies between Adobe and SAP.

RedMonk has said they plan to make these Nanomonk events a regular (3 to 4 times a year) so very much looking forward to that!

ActionScript meets SAP

Abesh over in the SDN community is a fan of Adobe’s Flex and AIR technologies. He’s also a fan of Widgets so he decided to work on some combining of technologies, since he works with SAP (and at SAP) he decided to create some helper libraries for working with ActionScript.

The first he created is “Adobe Actionscript helper Libraries for SAP MII”, found here. His describes this library as follows:

I assume that you would have read my blog and seen the video which tells you how to Use xMII Services in Adobe Flex 2.0.

Since there is a lot of activity on using Adobe Flex as an alternative UI for SAP MII on SDN, I’ve created a helper class which will ease this process.

His second helping of ActionScript with SAP was in his blog “Actionscript Libraries for SAP Widget Foundation : Available now!” found here.

I had blogged about how one can use the SAP Widget Foundation with Adobe Flex/Air in this Blog : Enterprise Widget Foundation & Adobe Flex : Awesome Twosome ? (Video) .

That was just an example or a Proof of Concept. What I have here is something that makes the whole deal a lot more easier for everyone. The Actionscript Libraries for SAP Widget Foundation lets anyone using Adobe technologies consume services from the Widget foundation at ease without having to wonder about the nitty gritties of the REST services exposed by SAPWF.

Rant about development and Netweaver

I tend to revisit this post quite often, this in fact is the second year that I am revisiting in another post for the simple reason that I made some rather explosive comments considering the fact I work for SAP themselves – but then again the post is not about SAP it’s about development in general.


About two years ago I wrote this blog post about Platforms, APIs and GUIs then I decided to rehash the topic and bring it forward some more.

Here’s a recap of the why I wrote the original blog,

“It seems that James finally got around to blogging about something he saw. He talked a bit about it during one of the RedMonk Radio episodes but did not even scratch the service leaving me sitting ask ‘What the…’ but finally he blogged it and will hopefully be sending over the ‘deets’ from Andrew soon.

James saw a presentation from T-Mobile and how they developed (rather quickly) an app using Adobe Flex. Now I like Flex (I too can get down with Flex) and I’m hoping to add a ‘Flex’ forum to SDN here in the near future (any Adobe guys want to help moderate?) and since I’ve been pushing the use of Scripting Languages his post is right up my alley in fact in more ways than one.”

(Via Craig’s Rantings…: Finding your way to your own frontend….)

As for the rehash/revisit,

Well to the fact that NetWeaver is probably one of the coolest platforms I’ve ever worked with and with the recent changes and additions is one reason I think SAP “does get it” not only do they give you a way of expanding their own software but they give you the platform and the means to do it as well.

Some people will of course bring up the fact that SAP has too many ways of doing the same thing, for example SAP has two ways of working with ABAP in a web environment one (a favorite of mine) is BSP and the other is ABAP Web Dynpro. I did a video interview with the creators of BSP who also happen to be some of the brains behind ABAP Web Dynpro, you should really watch that and see the official stance on the use of the two languages.


(Via My latest rant on developing with SAP.)

Which brings me to today, since then and in the last 10 to 11 months I’ve seen an explosion of new web services as well as technologies around which to connect and work together with those web services. I’ve seen services pop up and fail, I’ve seen some hit breaking points when they have to many users involved but the one thing that annoys me the most and I myself am guilty of it (it’s corrected now though), I see a ton of services come out with now API available.

I know the excuses I used on myself to not feel guilty about it, when I do it myself but WHY? Why do we as developers not include the API from the beginning? Why do we not actually use the API ourselves to connect to a frontend? I doubt there is any one or even remotely right answer about those questions but it’s quite annoying.

When I look at the SAP platform the following still comes to mind,

Agile, flexibility, expandability, scalability these are terms you can’t help but use when you begin working with the SAP NetWeaver platform it’s all there it’s like the Baskin & Robbins of the development world – just pick your flavor!

Choosing the the flavor is one thing but you can’t have a good sundae without the toppings and extras so as an Enterprise developer and Business User I want to use my tools, my it look the way I want but I also want to pull in, connect to and integrate with your services – make it easy for me – give me an API!

2007 was the year of the Widget, 2008?

Om Malik once stated (back in 2006/2007) that 2007 would be the year of the widget,

“Of course with Leopard and Vista almost around the corner, it is hard not to get enthusiastic about the future of widgets. Gabe Dorfman, a Microsoft product manager is predicting a widget boom. Yahoo, MySpace, AOL, and scores of others are part of this ‘atomization of web’ movement. ‘The Google personal homepage is the fastest-growing Google product,’ Marissa Mayer tells Newsweek, ‘This market is going to be very large.’”

Now midway through 2008 I’ve been sitting back and reflecting was 2007 really the year? Did things like the iPhone, AIR and Silverlight alter that path? At the end of 2007 SAP and SDN hosted a “Widget Contest” and we were blown away by the shear number of participants and activity around Widgets in the Enterprise. Last year during the SAP TechEd event Widgets even took center stage winning at the Demo Jam!

So was 2007 it or does 2008 and 2009 look interesting for widget technologies? I think so!

Now I won’t just leave it at that, let me at least say why I think it looks interesting. The simple fact that we are gaining ground in small, usable and portable devices in an “always on” mode the idea of small consumable apps (widgets) becomes more and more appealing – perhaps it’s not just a Yahoo, Vista, Google or Dashboard thing but still the idea of a small consumable app giving you what you need, how you need it and when you need it, well frankly the appeal is growing and growing.

Episode #3 – SAP SME Deep Dive, Jeff Stiles


While in Boston I attended the SAP SME Deep Dive and had a chance to sit down and chat with Jeff Stiles SVP of SME Marketing. 20,000 Customers for SAP Business One, Crystal Reports for SAP Business One, SAP Business ByDesign, SAP Business All in One and a perfect way to get started – the Solution Advisor tool.