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What's Jon's Take on SAP Trends in 2013?

jonerpdemojam.jpg Jon has been tackling key SAP issues (like SAP certification and HANA) since 1995. Get the latest from his blogs, YouTube channel, and iTunes feed.

Or, track his opinionated market views real-time on his JonERP Twitter Feed. Jon has served as SAP Mentor since 2007. He is also an Enterprise Irregular, a select group of enterprise bloggers/practitioners. Track his content from all sites (including diginomica) via the JonERP feedburner feed (or email). Jon is also a board member of the HANA Distinguished Engineers.

Here's how Jon pays the rent.

Also: connect to Jon on LinkedIn, and join his LinkedIn "SAP Consulting Skills" Group. JonERP is on Facebook also, and he posts on Google Plus - "circle" him there if you like. Track Jon's (in)famous "JonERP Newsfeed" via Twitter, Facebook, RSS, or email

Jon and partner-in-video-crime Dennis Howlett have launched  JD-OD.com - video commentary for the on-demand enterprise. Check out video shoots and candid reviews from recent SAP shows and other "cloudy" events.

News: Jon + 4 co-conspirators launched diginomica - insights for the digital enterprise
Lost Podcasts: SAP Skills Disruption in the Age of Outsourcing - Live from Madrid

podcastlogo_jonerp.gif"A live recording about the future of SAP tech skills in the age of outsourcing, taped in the Madrid expert lounge - 2012"
Podcast Taping Date: November 12, 2012
Podcast: Listen Now!

Also available on the JonERP iTunes feed...

Note: this is definitely a PG-13 rated podcast - at one point I say we are all consultants which some folks might find offensive, and later I use a profane word to mock "HANA skils hype."

Each TechEd season, one of my favorite things to do is to hold Expert Lounge sessions on the future of SAP skills and tape the audio on the fly. I try to put myself on the spot and do the talks without any slides or notes. I wade into the audience and take on whatever questions and issues are raised. Sometimes the tapings go really well, sometimes - not so much. Sometimes the culprit is crowd noise. This TechEd season, I did four sessions. The standout recording is this one - from SAP TechEd Madrid.

This is a 25 minute recording of my "SAP tech skills in the age of outsourcing" talk from Madrid 2012. This is a talk I have been giving for four years now and it always seems to go in an interesting direction. Last year two people from the session came up to me afterwards and told me they had just been laid off due to oustourcing, so these issues are real and aren't going anywere.

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SAP Ecosystem Success in an Opt-Out Economy - 31 Keys to Better Results

A JonERP Special Report

jreed.jpgThe rules of marketing are broken. What does that mean for the SAP ecosystem? It means that too often, we do spectacular things that go unnoticed. Our solutions get lost in the instant gratification "attention economy." And even if you have a war chest, you can't spend your way out of it. The SAP firms that try to buy eyeballs with broadcasting approaches only accelerate their failures. Meanwhile, SEO and social media "gurus" are ripping firms off left and right with overpriced and flawed approaches. So what's the answer? 

The answer is that anyone who claims to have all the answers is probably a fraud. But there is good news: even though attempts to "go viral" fail and tone-deaf stock photo marketing gets ridiculed in real-time, there's never been a better time to further your business by becoming part of the community rather than advertising into it. That means developing deep expertise, turning that into exceptional content, and making that content easy to access and share. 

In this JonERP Speical Report on SAP Solutions Success, I put all the best ideas I've seen, all the tactics that have proven themselves in the road tests of my own work (and that of my clients), into 31 keys to success.  For the last few months this piece has been available for download via TechTarget - now it's on JonERP, and you can either download the entire PDF (128KB) or browse the sections online. Read on for a few more details on the table of contents. 

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Reflections on Leadership, SAP Mentors, and the Pitfalls of Recognition - Expanded Version

hassoandstickers.jpgWith the latest round of SAP Mentor nominations wrapping at the end of February, the same questions about "who should be a Mentor and why?" keep popping up. To me, these questions provoke a broader debate about vendor community leadership. When a company like SAP selects Mentors, what does that mean to the individuals chosen? Yes, they are leaders, but what kind of leaders should they be? Leaders in advocating for SAP's products? Umm, I think not. Leaders in a command and control leadership style? Definitely not. Leaders who take the glory of the stage for themselves and don't raise others up? No to that also. Leaders in standing up for customer concerns and community needs? Now we're getting closer...

In the 2nd edition of the SAP Mentors Quarterly, I wrote an in-depth piece on leadership and how it pertains to community leaders like Mentors. I tackle the questions that are raised whenever some people are elevated as leaders at the expense of others. Now was a good time to revisit the article and fine tune some of the ideas. SAP has been ahead of the curve with its support of the Mentor Initiative, which has answered some big questions about what the SAP Community Network members should aspire to beyond points. But questions remain.

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SCN Video: Do SAP Mentors Impact Culture Change at SAP? With Sanjay Poonen

Podcast: Listen Now!
Vendor Videocast - Jon Reed talks to SAP's Sanjay Poonen and Mark Finnern about culture change at SAP, culture jamming, and how SAP Mentors move the needle at SAP
An SAP SCN Community Podcast
Hosted by Jon Reed of JonERP.com
Podcast Interview Date: January 19, 2011

For the next installment in my SCN podcast series, I taped a videocast with SAP's Sanjay Poonen and Mark Finnern to talk culture change at SAP and how SAP Mentors impact SAP culture. Poonen gives his take on why culture change at SAP matters and what his first meetings with the SAP Mentors were like. We also get into "culture jamming at SAP," and why bringing a sense of fun and creativity to the mix can make a surprising difference. At the 15:00 mark, Poonen cites a specific example in SAP mobility where SAP Mentor interactions have directly impacted SAP's forward strategy.

Editor's note: you can either watch the video or listen to the audio file of this recording. This video was taped from three locations via Adobe Connect. Also see: the SAP Mentor Initiative on SCN.

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Podcast: SAP and Social Media - BS or Value? Live from Madrid
podcastlogo_jonerp.gif"A live recording about the future of SAP tech skills, taped in the Madrid expert lounge"
Podcast Taping Date: November 9, 2011
Podcast: Listen Now!

With all the JD-OD.com videos posted, it's time to catch up with the best of the audio, including this session from SAP TechED Madrid, on "SAP Social Media: BS or Value." Taped live at my expert lounge session, this was a typical JonERP "unpresentation" with no slides, just an uncensored and hopefully valuable conversation. We talked for 25 minutes, digging into whether there is value in social media for SAP professionals and how you go about finding it.

I was fortunate to have some very savvy SAP Twitter uses and community members to spice this one up, including: Chris Kernaghan (aka "BoobBoo"), Fred Verheul, and Steve Rumsby. As a side note, it's interesting how each of these guys has a different personality and tweeting style, but they also have fundamental similarities in their views on building community with social tools.

The participants wanted to talk about the value of social media for both SAP professionals and project teams, so we covered each aspect. I suppose what makes my view on this topic different is that I'm deeply cynical about the misuse and noise created by these new tools, but at the same time, frequently startled by the possibilities of social media to deepen relationships in ways that are the furthest thing from BS. I think you get a sense of this from the talk, and the participants added a lot of insight into the actual application of these tools in the SAP world. One fascinating karmic aspect to social media: the more you focus on what you are going to get out of it, the less you actually get. Whereas if you share things that matter, the payoff is simply an organic byproduct.

I see effective SAP social media participation as  three phase process that requires (and needs)no viral eyeball counting obsessions. It's simply: 1. Listen to the experts in your field, 2. create meaningful content that advances that conversation, and then 3. engage in the discussion wherever that discussion is happening. All metrics and stats do in the end is prove these points are unavoidably true. Deviating from them carries reputation dangers...

If you enjoyed this one, you might also want to hear my SAP social media podcast from Las Vegas. Note: this podcast is rated PG-13 for occasional blunt language! 

If you want to subscribe to JonERP podcasts, get the The JonERP Master Blog and Podcast Feed. Or find Jon on his @jonerp Twitter feed. These podcasts are also included in the JonERP iTunes podcast feed

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Podcast: Technical SAP Skills in the Age of Outsourcing - Live from Madrid
podcastlogo_jonerp.gif"A live recording about the future of SAP tech skills, taped in the Madrid expert lounge"
Podcast Taping Date: November 8, 2011
Podcast: Listen Now!

My first EMEA TechEd was a dandy. With all the JD-OD.com videos posted, it's time to catch up with the best of the audio, including this session on SAP technical skills from Madrid. Taped live at my expert lounge session on "SAP Tech Skills in the Age of Outsourcing," we had a great 25 minute discussion about SAP technical skills at the crossroads. The audience was about equally divided between Basis folks and ABAPpers, so we balanced the talk between SAP administration and development skills.

I was fortunate to have some very sharp participants who are well respected in the SAP community, including fellow SAP Mentor Michael Koch, who I asked to join the session to speak from the independent SAP developer angle. Tom Cenens, a highly regarded Basis expert, was also in the house. Halfway through the talk, SAP Mentor and PI expert Daniel Graversen stepped into the talk as well, which led us to a discussion about productizing SAP knowledge based on his SAP PI archiving tools and community building. CBasis (a.k.a. Christian Braukmuller) also chimes in during the talk.  

The tensions between outsourcing and remaining viable as an on-site SAP professional were a major theme of the discussion. We also got into the importance of being an advisor not just a code cranker, the impact of SAP virtualization/cloud, the convergence of tech and business, the value of community to skills exposure, and why I believe if you don't have passion for SAP you should either find it or move on. If you enjoyed this one, you might also want to hear my SAP TechEd skills podcast from Las Vegas.

If you want to subscribe to JonERP podcasts, get the The JonERP Master Blog and Podcast Feed. Or find Jon on his @jonerp Twitter feed. These podcasts are also included in the JonERP iTunes podcast feed

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Podcast: Debating the Value of SAP HANA
podcastlogo_jonerp.gif"Debating the value of HANA with four SAP Mentors on an international call...and discussing the burning questions for 2012". (ERP Lounge #22)"
Podcast Interview Date: December 3, 2011
Podcast: Listen Now!

Straight talk about HANA is hard to come by - but not with the group I pulled together for this international call. I have rarely looked forward to a call as much as this one, because I didn't know where the discussion would lead. I suspected we would have some significant points of debate and disagreement - I was not disappointed.

During this 60 minute podcast, you'll hear SAP Mentors and bloggers Vijay Vijayasankar, John Appleby, and Vitality Rudnytskiy talk HANA as only they can. It was a great discussion, and next time we'll try to get Harald Reiter in the mix as well (he was called away at the last minute).

The podcast covers seven main topics, in this order: 

- Sapphire Now HANA takeaways/Influencer Summit burning questions
- HANA, the cloud, and multi-tenancy
- Debate: is BW on HANA a "killer app?"
- HANA versus the Business Warehouse Accelerator (BWA)
- Our SAP HANA wish list for 2012
- SAP extending HANA to developers - success/challenges
- Epilogue: John's latest Bluefin HANA use case (gaming industry)

Editor's note- podcast links: Vijay Vijayasankar and Vitaily Rudnytskiy have both been blogging in detail on HANA. John Appleby has also blogged extensively on HANA on his Bluefin Solutions blog, his People, Process and Technology blog and also on his blog on SCN (check out John Appleby's HANA FAQ). Vitaliy also has a new blog called Vital BI. Other links: SAP Mentor Initiative. You can also check out SAP's In-Memory Home Page on SCN. Also: Experience HANA (with developer sandbox access)

Blog posts mentioned in this podcast: Vitaliy on HANA in-memory, John on "Project Orange" (BW on HANA), Vijay on real-time data and Red Bull on HANA.

Podcast timing: we taped this podcast the night before the SAP-SuccessFactors acquisition was announced. The cloud discussion at the beginning of the podcast should be heard in that light - none of us knew what was about to happen, but cloud was in the air. It is only a coincidence that all of us talked about the need for SAP to clarify its cloud message. :) Here's John's, Vijay's, and Jon Reed's take on the SAP-SuccessFactors acquisition.

If you want to subscribe to JonERP podcasts, get the The JonERP Master Blog and Podcast Feed. Or find Jon on his @jonerp Twitter feed. These podcasts are also included in the JonERP iTunes podcast feed

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SCN Podcast: Using Idea Place to Crowdsource SAP Mobility Apps Ideas

Podcast: Listen Now!
Vendor Podcast - Jon Reed talks to SAP's Nick Brown and Clemens Suter-Crazzolara about using Idea Place to crowdsource SAP mobility app ideas.
An SAP SCN Community Podcast
Hosted by Jon Reed of JonERP.com
Podcast Interview Date: November 17, 2011

Since the "suggest mobile apps" section was launched on SAP Idea Place six weeks ago, there have been more than 150 ideas from 50 contributors, making it one of the fastest growing areas within Idea Place to this point. But there are still many community members who don't yet know about this project. To find out what inspired the "suggest mobile apps" section on Idea Place and how it fits into SAP's mobility strategy, Jon Reed talks to SAP's Nick Brown and Clemens Suter-Crazzolara. 

During the thirteen minute podcast, Brown shares SAP's mobility strategy and his vision for how Idea Place can help pull the ecosystem into a crowdsourced approach to suggesting and prioritizing mobility app development. Suter-Crazzolara, who has been driving the project, explains how those who haven't used Idea Place before can get started suggesting their mobility ideas. The guys give their view on how this project can provide application ideas not only to SAP, but also to its partners. Given that partners will be developing upwards of 80 percent of all SAP mobility apps, it will be interesting to see what role Idea Place can play in aligning partner development with the most popular mobile apps, while warning them away from those that are not as well accepted. This podcast gets that conversation rolling.

Editor's note: In addition to the SAP mobility apps ideas section on Idea Place, you can also check out Clemens Suter-Crazzolara's blog updates about the project on SCN. Also check out the mobility section on SCN.

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Podcast: Live SAP Tech Skills Chat from Las Vegas

podcastlogo_jonerp.gif"An informal talk about the future of SAP tech skills in the era of outsourcing"
Podcast Taping Date: September 16, 2011
Podcast: Listen Now!

Since Dennis Howlett and I have posted all 21 of our JD-OD SAP TechEd Vegas videos, I can play catch up and post a few other TechEd highlights. One was this annual tradition: my SAP TechEd skills chat, taped live from the Expert Lounge. Although there was some crowd noise, this recording came out pretty well and captured a range of views during a short 17 minute recording time. Since a major theme of the future of SAP technical skills is the convergence of functional and technical skills, I was fortunate to have SAP Business Process expert Jim Link amongst the participants in the taped discussion. Jim had some great comments about the evolution of the SAP skill set and what he looks for in the solution architects that he collaborates with. The recording begins and ends a little abruptly due to a couple of minor issues, but the meat of the recording is intact for your listening pleasure. 

We had a wide range of views during our discussion, but there was common interest in the pros and cons of outsourcing and the implications of managing global SAP projects. A major focal point of the discussion is how SAP technical professionals can remain on the "indispensable" side of the spectrum as opposed to dispensable and easily outsourced. I'm pleased to mention that for the first time ever, I'll be presenting my annual SAP TechEd skills chat in SAP TechEd Madrid. I hope to see and meet plenty of colleagues there and I'll do my best to tape the session also. 

If you want to subscribe to JonERP podcasts, get the The JonERP Master Blog and Podcast Feed. Or find Jon on his @jonerp Twitter feed. These podcasts are also included in the JonERP iTunes podcast feed

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Podcast: Talking SAP Business ByDesign Partner Issues - with Tetlow and De Araujo

podcastlogo_jonerp.gif"A view from the Business ByDesign field with two SAP partners"
Podcast Interview Date: October 20, 2011
Podcast: Listen Now!

SAP Business ByDesign (and on-demand in general) was not a focal point of the keynotes from TechEd Las Vegas and Bangalore. To get a better sense of where Business ByDesign stands from a field view, I taped this 30 minute podcast with two ByDesign partners, SAP Mentor Leonardo De Araujo of Beyond Technologies and Ray Tetlow of Skyytek Corporation. Leo and Ray provided an honest view of the strengths of ByDesign and where improvements are needed to reach its potential. 

One thing to note about the discussion is that Leo and Ray bring different backgrounds into the talk. Leo has deep SAP expertise and his firm, Beyond Technologies, has extensive experience with on-premise SAP SME products. Ray's firm Skyytek is a pure SaaS consulting firm, built from the ground up to implement SaaS based enterprise products. Few are better at articulating the differences in SaaS consulting models than Ray, so I was really looking forward to this discussion. As I hoped, Leo and Ray were soon driving the talk forward with sharp views on ByDesign and which customers are the best fit for the product currently. They both share what they would like to see in future releases beyond 3.0, as well as their views on where the ByD SDK stands currently and what that means for ByD partners.

This podcast has been added to the JonERP iTunes podcast feed. You can also pick it up via Jon's Master SAP Blog, Podcast and Video feedburner feed.

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Informal TechEd Podcast: Social Media and SAP - BS or Value?

podcastlogo_jonerp.gif"An Informal discussion about what works and what fails in SAP social media for companies and individuals"Podcast Taping Date: September 15, 2011
Podcast: Listen Now!

SAP TechEd is always full of gut-ripping event conflicts. While my fellow SAP Mentors were meeting with Vishal Sikka, I conducted this recorded expert lounge discussion on social media in the SAP world - "BS or Value?" I was glad to be joined by some very sharp people, including Marilyn Pratt and Natascha Thomson, who is very well-versed in social media issues herself. As an extra bonus, Natascha posted video of some of the session in her own TechEd post, so check that out on SCN. SAP's David Brutman also participated in the talk, along with a number of conference attendees. 

Now that Dennis Howlett and I have posted all 21 of our JD-OD SAP TechEd Vegas videos, I can now post a couple audio souvenirs from TechEd Vegas, including this podcast. One thing to note: the recording is not ideal from an audio standpoint, due to a couple quirks such as crowd noise. For that reason, I have added detailed podcast notes below which hits on almost all the key points in the 24 minute conversation.

I'm posting this audio in imperfect format because I thought this conversation captured something - a sense of collective frustration about the excesses of "social media as a popularity contest", but also some important talk about another very different and more powerful way to go about social media, by creating kickass content that fosters community and conversation around your "tribe." There was also some worthwhile debate about how "personal" people should get on social media, and whether brands can be authentic. You might be surprised to learn I believe there is a limit to how authentic we should get on these channels. But the obvious pushback is that "building a global microbrand" seems soulless. Well, it doesn't have to be. Not with soulful content and a community-driven approach.

Note: this podcast is rated PG-13. I swear a couple of times, "creating kickass content" for one.

If you want to subscribe to JonERP podcasts, get the The JonERP Master Blog and Podcast Feed. Or find Jon on his @jonerp Twitter feed. These podcasts are also included in the JonERP iTunes podcast feed

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