Since 2005, SAP Sapphire meant panicking for 6+ weeks of April and half of May. Since I’m no longer in the IBM SAP Practice Global CTO, I won’t be there. I’m still deeply involved and interested in IBM‘s efforts in the SAP world. It impacts most of my clients and I spend a lot of time on the interfacing of SAP software to many of IBM’s latest capabilities like Bluemix and Watson and most recently in developing an FDA compliant cloud for SAP. SAP is still on my mind, still important, and I wish I could go to Sapphire to see my friends who have become like family over the decade.
You can go beyond just discussing Digital Transformation, you can touch it. You can touch it in the IBM Booth #104. Gagan Reen, who leads the LSS, and his team will be launching Digital Transformation Cognitive Solutions as part of the IBM and SAP Digital Transformation initiative.
Please let me know how Sapphire goes this year. What is new? What is pure hype and what is real? Have a great show and I will remain calm all of May, but I will miss of you, my extended work family, at Sapphire.
Living on your past successes is the road to ruin. Change is inevitable as the sunset. Whether you see it or not, it sets. The tree in the forest falls causing vibration of the air even if you are not there to perceive it as sound. In 2015, you will see the beginning of the end of on-premise software and systems including ERP systems like SAP.
Clients are no longer willing to buy the infrastructure, software, and services to implement business functions. There will always be a special market for special software, but it no longer necessary for core business functions. Even if business pays a few more pennies on the dollar, they want to buy the service directly and more and more vendors have entered the market with realistic scope and depth of function of business services that running very large businesses on SaaS based solution is possible.
It is not a flatline Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) argument. It is all about speed and velocity of change in technology and in business. Whether it is reacting to technology change like “electronic payment” or business conditions like “extremely low cost of oil”, it is necessary to react and react swiftly. SaaS based systems are better able whether it is because the SaaS system you are one rolls out upgrades without sympathy, something the IT department could never get away with, or because you can switch to another SaaS provider due to more standardized interfaces and a more universal user interface (UI) that requires less training. SaaS solutions provide the velocity and agility not found in on-premise solutions.
While the on-premise system looks like a promising TCO as its 5 year cost may be lower than the competing SaaS system, it falls apart when the inevitable change occurs. The on-premise system TCO is based on the idea that the 3 to 5 year roll-out will occur with limited change, but that change always occurs and in half decade it can be dramatic change. In fact change is the only consistent truth you can bet on on.
Next you’ll argue SaaS doesn’t have enough functionality. That is a limited truth for now. It is rapidly changing as the SI’s plunge into the market to fill the gaps with extensions that verticalize each SaaS solution or extend each solution via internal options (using named spaces in the application) or external options such other cloud based systems. It becomes a question of SaaS agility and velocity vs. on-premise optimization; however, optimization fails massively when the conditions of the system that was optimized changes, and again change is inevitable.
The question for each of us to answer is how will SaaS based systems change your job? If you are functional, what is the SaaS based system that will eclipse your on-premise role and skill set. If you are technical hands on, will you work for a SaaS vendor or will you move to area that is still in demand like architecture or network. IT is still in high demand, maybe higher than ever as technology is not just required for business, but the very fabric of business. Everyone who works on business software needs to evaluate your future based on the inevitable change brought by SaaS.
In 2015 software and especially ERP software will evolve due to change. With change, we have the three choices: move, adapt, or die? You can go to part of the world where on-premise is still new, you can learn how SaaS will impact you and update your skills, or you hang on for dear life hoping everyone else changes their way. As for the latter option, I’m not hopeful. Your success in 2015 is by recognizing the shift to SaaS just like knowing the sun has gone down even though you were stuck in the office.
While we are on New Year’s resolutions, do try to get out and see the sunrise or sunset with someone you love just a few times in 2015. Here is to true success for you, your friends, and your loved ones in 2015.
You can achieve your destiny with the help of a mentor and by being a mentor.
There is no topic closer to my heart, dare I say emotional, than seeing individuals achieve their destiny. Even the most special person doesn’t reach their potential without some help from others. No one gets to where they are by themselves including me. I’ve been fortunate to have some super people in my life, both as mentors and as mentorees.
I confess my pride swelled as I saw Vijay Vijayasankar (Vice President, Global Channels and Business Development at MongoDB) (blog | linkedin), someone I mentored, step up on the SAP TechEd/D-Code conference keynote. It has always been a goal of mine to mentor / manage someone who makes it to the most senior level of corporation. As Vijay has risen, I’d say we each consider each other peer mentors which is interesting. More than anything, Vijay has taught me the value of seeing the situation from the most positive light possible. It is skill I admire in him.
I’ve always believed the mentor gets as much from the relationship as the mentoree. Just having fresh eyes on the problem and the solution can reveal a lot. Now, I know Vijay and I are peers, but I think he’s actual become my mentor which I think is terrific. By the way, you certainly can have a mentor who is at “lower” level in the management hierarchy than you.
Another mentoree, Tomas Krojzl (linkedin | website | blog) sought me out. I think he called or e-mailed me 2x week for a month or more before I agreed. It was some kid in the Czech Republic who was fairly low level and wanted to be a Distinguished Engineer in 3 years. A Distinguished Engineer at IBM is quite an honor and considered one of the harder ways to become an executive at IBM. I thought anyone who can be that persistent and even thinks they can make that level in 3 years will certainly become something special and indeed Tomas is special. Tomas Krojzl won the best of IBM. That is amazing honor only given to 100 people a year in IBM out of more than 400K employees. Tomas is an SAP Mentor and SAP HANA Distinguished Engineer. I’m confident Tomas will achieve his goal of becoming an IBM Distinguished Engineer although it may take few more years, but it will be sooner than most.
I’ll just mention a few of my key mentors in my life. Barry Wakeman, former Director of Education at the Cincinnati Zoo, brought me into Cincinnati Zoo’s Junior Zoologist and saved me from being a miserable outcast. I didn’t fit into any of the peer groups at school like the jocks, scholars, burn outs, etc. He taught me it was OK to be smart, find critters in streams, do research, collect insects, crawl in caves, explore oceans, think critically, give back to the world, and study the natural world. Barry inspired a lot of kids in greater Cincinnati area. I would not be where I am today without him. I’ve got a long list who I know feel the same way. Barry is deceased, but he embodied Stephen Covey’s quote of “Live, love, laugh, leave a legacy” with his life.
When I was at Illinois Power Company (IPC) (since acquired) in Decatur, IL, David Peterson, Director of Networking, helped me evolve technically and as person. He’d literally would sneak me into the IPC HQ to talk with me since I’d been banned from the facility. That is a story for another day, but let me just say “you can be 100% correct and dead wrong.” David introduced me to networking. Together with him, we got IPC onto new networking standards and got it connected to the Internet for the first time. It took 2 years of writing business cases in 1990-1991. Unfortunately, I’ve lost track of David.
Skipping over a lot of years and good people, Adolf Allesch (linkedin |website) , was my manager, but even more importantly a mentor. He often called me when I’d been on call and missed the mark to coach me. It never was a matter of content, as I said, I was usually 100% correct, but in how I’d presented the topic or even the tone in which I responded was more important. Telling someone their idea is foolish, even if it is, or solving the problem in 5 minutes when they’ve spent 5 months on it, is probably not going to make them want to work with you. Adolf was key to my achieving Distinguished Engineer at IBM. In the SAP world, I know lot of people who owe him a debt as well. Adolf is now off working on his own at Emergence Advisor.
Today, I keep a running list of people I mentor. I try to make sure I touch base with them at least once every quarter. I increasingly find I don’t talk about technology, but about shaping their non-technical skills so they are more effective in achieving their goals, much the way Adolf did for me. Some of it is simple as just asking “what do you want to be in 2 and 5 years?” and “what are the big steps do you need to do to get there?”. Frequently, I’m just a sounding board, give them options, or more connections. I confess, it is one of the best parts of my job.
Mentoring is a “pay it forward” (movie | book) so when people ask what they can do to repay me for my time, I ask who are they mentoring? So now, two pieces of advice. Become a mentor to several others and go get at least one mentor. Mentoring will not guarantee you achieve your destiny, it does help and you’ll be surprised how much it adds to the quality of your life.
On the flight to Las Vegas for SAP D-Code (aka TechEd). One of the first years, I’m not presenting, but IBM has a wealth of content in our booth and being presented. Be sure to check out Scott Geddes on the Apple + IBM relationship and how it will help build the Individual Enterprise. I’m in the IBM both all week, too, so come by and say HI!
We’ll be talking a lot about the exciting announcements for SAP to sell their applications on IBM’s Cloud. If you’re not clear on how it works for your organization, we’ll have lots of people who can help guide you at the booth. Mike Ryan is giving 2 sessions on moving to IBM cloud, too.
From SAP, I hope they have a few major Suite on HANA references. I’m looking for $5B and up companies who’ve made the migration, not just a division. I’m hoping to gather more details on their own SaaS strategy especially on Business-by-Design. I know Wall Street was disappointed with earnings from SAP, but I take it as a positive sign their rate of transition to cloud. We all know that is our future, but I don’t even think that the most aggressive analyst see how soon that future will arrive.
Please do check out the IBM sessions and at least come by and say hello, discuss SAP, IBM, or any technology topic. Have a great show and learn big!
Thursday, October 23, 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Session ID MOB105: – Bellini 2105 Level 2
Title: Apple + IBM: Evolving to the SAP Enabled Individual Enterprise
Speaker: Scott Geddes
Description: What’s next, now that you’ve done your first waves of transformation with SAP? How do you empower end users in ways never possible before and unleash the power of our SAP implementation? In this session we will explore how Apple + IBM are working together to change the way people work and create new, never before seen capabilities.
EXPERT NETWORKING SESSION:
Thursday, October 23
12:00pm – 1:00pm Lounge #3
Apple + IBM: Evolving to the SAP Enabled Individual Enterprise (IBM and Apple alliance discussion cont’d)
Scott Geddes, IBM SAP Global Business Services – Mobility
Chuck Kichler, IBM SAP iCoC CTO Tuesday, October 21, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Session ID: DMM137
Title: IBM’s Recommended Approach for Optimizing Different Kinds of SAP Workloads
Speaker: Guersad Kuecuek
Description: Today, customers face various requirements to effectively deal with different kinds of workloads. Key aspects are high Service Level Agreements while maintaining optimal performance for analytical (OLAP) and transactional (OLTP) workloads. Find out how customers like Audi, Balluff, and Coca-Cola have mastered these challenging requirements.
Tuesday, October 21, 3:15 PM – 4:15 PM
Session ID: DMM142
Title: SAP HANA on IBM Power – Value, Performance and Experience
Speaker: Alfred Freudenberger
Description: With the announcement of the testing and evaluation program for SAP HANA on IBM Power Systems at SAPPHIRE NOW in 2014, a new option for SAP HANA deployments will soon be available. Why should SAP clients consider this option? For which environments is it well-suited? What have IBM and SAP learned during development, testing, and evaluation?
EXPERT NETWORKING SESSION:
Wednesday, October 22
11:30am – 12:00pm Lounge #4
SAP HANA on IBM Power – Value, Performance and Experience
Alfred Freudenberger, IBM Leader NA SAP on Power
Tuesday, October 21, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Session ID: DMM145
Title: Simplify IBM Database Performance Tuning with the DBA Cockpit
Speaker: Thomas Rech
Description: In today’s IT world, it is crucial to maintain high SAP system performance to meet demanding Service Level Agreements. The DBA Cockpit for IBM DB2 Linux, Unix, and Windows is an easy, fully integrated solution for database monitoring and administration with SAP. Learn about the design concept, the capabilities, and discuss customer use cases.
Wednesday, October 22, 11:45 AM – 12:45 PM
Session ID ITM220
Title: Business Continuity for SAP HANA-Based Applications – Shared Experiences
Speaker: Irene Hopf
Description: Learn about the options to keep business continuously running when you migrate SAP application landscapes to SAP HANA. High availability and disaster recovery are essential for business-critical applications. Discuss experiences with your peers and learn how other customers have implemented it.
Wednesday, October 22, 5:45 PM – 6:45 PM
Session ID INT206
Title: Integrating Shop-Floor with Enterprise in Real-Time – SAP MII In Action
Speaker: Dipankar Saha
Description: How to integrate heterogeneous shop-floor systems with SAP ERP by SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence (SAP MII) using custom frameworks with various industry case-studies. This includes: manufacturing integration use cases, real-time integration using SAP MII, and architecture and case studies of integration using the frameworks.
Thursday, October 23, 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
Session ID UXP117
Title: Experience with Google Glass and Business Applications
Speaker: Markus van Kempen
Description: Google Glass presents a mobile form-factor which allows for new possibilities. This session discusses examples of user experiences, including the disconcerting experience of “wearing” a camera all the time, reactions from others, and navigation challenges. We show how to design for Google Glass and demonstrate business applications.
Thursday, October 23, 10:45 AM – 11:45 AM
Session ID ITM235
Title: Establishing Architectural Patterns for SAP in the Cloud at CokeOne +
Speaker: Michael Ryan
Description: The CokeOne + migration to cloud for their non-production SAP environments included the establishment of architectural patterns to take advantage of the services provided by cloud computing. This session focuses on establishing the architectural patterns needed to transform businesses by moving business systems and processes to a cloud model.
Thursday, October 23, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Session ID DMM127
Title: Streamline SAP HANA Solution with Near-Line Storage Solution by PBS and IBM
Speaker: Elke Hartmann-Bakan
Description: Streamline your SAP HANA solution by keeping only hot data in memory and moving warm data to near-line storage (NLS). This allows you to maintain a lean SAP HANA database and sustain high performance. The PBS and IBM NLS solution offers near real-time speed on NLS, ultra fast load time from the online database to the NLS, and extreme compression.
Thursday, October 23, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Session ID ITM123
Title: Planning Your Company’s SAP Systems Migration to the Cloud
Speaker: Michael Ryan
Description: The opportunity to move the SAP infrastructure to cloud is a game changer. Businesses are offered a level of speed and agility that has not been available in the past. However, moving to cloud does not solve basic issues that we experience in the IT world. We take a look at some of the key issues and think about the impact across enterprises.
EXPERT NETWORKING SESSION
Tuesday, October 21
2:30pm – 3:00pm Lounge #4
SAP Applications on IBM Cloud – from self-service to fully managed
Keith Murray, Global Offerings Manager SAP on SoftLayer, IBM SmartCloud Services
Wolfgang Knobloch, IBM GTS Global Offering Manager, SAP
I’m glad to see the SAP, TomorrowNow, Oracle debacle drawing to a close as reported in Forbes. While we all want to be fairly paid for our innovations and no one wants to be ripped off, we don’t need individuals, leaders, and whole companies spending all their efforts and focus on suing, counter-suing and legal maneuvers. I’ve always believed that as soon as you start involving lawyers, you are already losing or at least skimming off your capability. It is pretty clear to me that TomorrowNow was wrong and SAP owned them, so I’m not arguing the verdict at all, but the huge waste of energy, focus, and innovation.
The recent announcement on the settlement seems reasonable in that it compensates Oracle for damages plus penalties. Forbes reported ‘A three-judge federal bench upheld the judge’s ruling and awarded approximately $357 million in damages, with about $121 million in lost profits for Oracle and $236 million in infringement profit for SAP, stating the previous award was “based on undue speculation.”‘ This is long way from the $1.3B initial reward which was headline worthy. It also seems large enough to discourage bad behavior and compensates Oracle, or at least their lawyers, fairly.
Putting aside the huge dollars here, can you imagine how much of the Oracle and SAP teams’ energies went into this lawsuit? What if both companies just focused on building better databases? tools? products? ERP systems? clouds? It seems when companies get sucked into these types of legal battles, the only winners possible are weaker competitors who can focus on innovation and clients while the big guys “duke it out” in the courts.
Can SAP and Oracle just go back to creating great products because while you were filing legal briefs, you competition didn’t rest. Ultimately, the real loser was the consumer who is paying for all the legal overhead and distractions when they buy your products. So please, please, please, go back to building better mouse traps. I got lots of mice.
Production HANA on VMware is in “controlled availability, allowing selected customers, depending on their scenarios and system sizes to go live with SAP HANA on VMware vSphere immediately” per SAP OSS Note: 1788665 – SAP HANA Support for VMware vSphere Environments. However, the SAP marketing team left this small stipulation off the press release and got everyone very hot and bothered.
Must be approved for controlled availability by SAP
Must be on VMware vSphere 5.5
Must be on SAP HANA SPS07
Maximum of 1 TB
Must be on SAP approved HANA server and storage
Must comply to SAP’s current recommendations for vCPU and RAM
Must not over-provsion the CPU nor RAM
Maximum of 1 Virtual Machine (VM)
In other words you need the latest and greatest version of VMware and HANA running on your HANA approved appliance in a nearly non-virtual manner. While this is less than what we all want, it is a step in the right direction. It will allow you to manage the HANA instance under your VMware management utilities. It makes HANA part of your Software Defined Environmental strategy. I’m confident that over time, as it becomes Generally Available, that production HANA will have far fewer restrictions.
I’m actually looking forward to when we can run production HANA on lots of virtualization schemes. I look forward to more of software defined service level agreement (SLA) with SAP so that other virtualization environments including the cloud providers can provide production services. Right now it is about shipping hardware to Waldorf, DE for certification and is so specific, it is not practical even for hardware manufactures.
SAP needs to move to software defined SLA would be good for everyone including SAP by making HANA more available and take less effort to certify platforms, hardware and cloud providers who want the ability to vary the make-up of servers based on market conditions and newer evolutions of chipsets, and especially my clients who want HANA, but in but running in a completely virtual word they are defining, not the one SAP is trying to define for them.
As Vishal Sikka (former SAP CTO) exits, limited Production HANA on VMware is great first step for the product he called his child, HANA. Unlimited production HANA on VMware would be a great toddler-hood. I really look forward to seeing it rapidly reach its teenage years and start trying to run on everything everywhere. Isn’t that what teenagers do?
This is my 13th Sapphire and I still get excited by them. For me, it is old home week where I get to meet all the people I know, I’ve seen before, and sometimes those that I just get to read about. Since I’m terrible at names and faces, it is a struggle for me, but it is worth the effort. Even for the IBMers, I review the roster before I go to make sure I’ve seen the names. If I can tie the person to idea or something we worked on, I can almost always remember them.
I look forward to walking all the solution booths and listening to the pitches from each company. Some are great and inciteful.. Most are OK. A few don’t have clue what an SAP system is or will be. In that case, I just hope I got the wrong person. I’m not a fan of the professional showperson booths, but some are entertaining. I prefer to speak with the experts on the topic.
I’m not happy that some of my favorite vendors are not going to be at the show because SAP is limiting the application life cycle management (ALM) vendors at least according to the the exhibitor guide. I’m rather disappointed when IntelliCorp (http://intellicorp.com/), Realtech (http://www.realtech.com/wInternational/index.php), and Panaya (http://panaya.com/) are not permitted to attend and put up booth. I’ve seen 100’s of companies benefit from their tools. If SAP wants to beat them with better tools – go for it. I don’t like seeing software that benefits my clients being pushed out by marketing rules.
Specifically, for Panaya, I have a lot experience. They are part of the IBM SAP and Oracle Upgrade methodology and we’ve added them for automated manual testing. Specific to SAP, they are limited to ECC, but they do a great job and far better than Solution Manager. Now we are looking to work with them on Quality Management of SAP systems. There use of cloud and collecting the “wisdom of the cloud” or crowd-sourcing knowledge is leading edge for the SAP world. So why wouldn’t clients want to hear? Clients are happy to benefit from previous clients’ works and even share if they think they’ll get something back of equal or greater merit.
I’ll be spending MOST of my time around the IBM booth area. Please do come by and ask for me, Chuck Kichler, by name. I’d love to hear what you think about this blog, about SAP, and about IBM, to discuss your problems or ideas, or just to say hello. Bring your business card, too. I’ll want to write what we discussed on the back, so I can remember you, and maybe we can even do some business.
And, yes, I am almost up to taking pictures and using Evernote Hello (http://evernote.com/hello/), but this seems a little too big brother for me at this point. If you are using it, can you let me know how people react to the picture part?