Check Jon's latest diginomica blog!

Here's Jon's diginomica blog updates
Read Ultimate SAP User Guide kindle reviews Podcast Feedback

"I listen to all your SAP podcasts in my car, until my kids get mad at me and make me put on music for them instead. Keep up the good work!"

- Robert Max, 2007 Solution Manager Community of Interest, and Systems Management Special Interest Group Chair for the Americas' SAP Users Group - Visitor Feedback

"Jon, let me congratulate you on building a site which exclusively caters to SAP skills and careers and answers a lot of doubts young and senior SAP consultants have about what skills to have and get trained on."

More Site Feedback

"I have been reading your SAP newsletters for over a decade now... It's remarkable that you have now embraced the Web 2.0 delivery methods - Podcasts, Twitter etc - without sacrificing the in-depth nature of your analyses!" - Dave Sen, SAP Enterprise Architect - Reader Feedback

"I visit almost everyday to check out whether there is something new and what the future trends hold for SAP skills and careers."

More Site Feedback

"I was struggling with career direction a few years ago and you provided me with some extremely valuable advise. I've been very satisfied with my career direction which was influenced in large part by your coaching. Thanks again!" - Keith

New JonERP Feedback

"You have always been there with a prompt reply when it matters the most. You have really been a mentor in true sense."

- Hussain Sehorewala -

Get all of Jon's blogs, videocasts, and SAP content

Note that Jon blogs and videocasts on a variety of SAP and enterprise web sites. The easiest way to track all his content is through his JonERP Feedburner feed, which you can subscribe to via RSS or email. There is also additional video content to subscribe to on Jon also posts audio versions of much of his content on his JonERP iTunes Feed. To pose questions to Jon directly find him on Twitter.

What Trends Did You See at the BO Summit?

On Tuesday, August 12 in Boston, I had the opportunity to attend the SAP BO Summit. The Summit was an opportunity for so-called “Influencers” to learn more about the SAP BO Roadmap and the value proposition that SAP/Business Objects provides to SAP customers. Some of the main events from this summit are now posted online. You can also see the media relations notices from the event.

My goal when attending these kinds of events is always the same: to get an inside view of the key emerging skills that SAP professionals and project teams should be tracking.

  In this blog entry, I’ll share what I learned on that. For those who are looking for more of an overall view of the events that took place, Sandy Kemsley’s Column 2 blog did an outstanding job of documenting the events while they were happening. Sandy had good looking blog entries and slides up so fast that it was just plain unfair to work alongside her.

If you want a taste of controversy from the event, Dennis Howlett’s blog entry on SAP pricing versus Oracle is a good place to start. In the blog post, Dennis quotes an SAP sales executive who then responded in the “talk back” section of the blog. Both sides of that story are interesting. I’m not going to choose a side myself, but I’m all in favor of honest discussions, even if a few ruffled feathers is the price.

As for me, I used my new JonERP Twitter Feed to micro-blog my instant reactions to the show as they were happening. Some of the comments were perhaps amusing, like my quip about the Deloitte and Accenture speakers tussling over who had the biggest BI practice, or my whining about having to take too “deep a dive” into strategy and execution theory. Hopefully buried in those smart aleck comments is something that still has some relevance. I’ll take a few of the “tweets” that seem more relevant to SAP skills trends and incorporate them into this blog entry.

Right before the BO Summit, I did a piece on SAP/Business Objects skills transitions that I spent a few months of obsessive research on before I posted. I’m not going to bother repeating the info from that article here, so you might want to check that out also. Down the line, I’m hoping to post some thoughts that BO executives shared with me about this article. But at the BO Summit, I did pick up on a few things that I had not noted in the original article, so I’ll share those in this blog entry.

Let’s start with the press releases issued in conjunction with the conference. In my opinion, of the press releases issued, by far the biggest story was SAP’s press release about Standard and Poor’s new risk management criteria they will soon be including in their evaluation of companies. SAP believes, correctly in my view, that this new practice will drive corporate interest in GRC (Governance, Risk and Compliance) in general, including SAP’s GRC product offering. The press release for that is here.

I always look for skills trends with regulatory teeth, and this seems to have something close to that. SAP and BO’s GRC suite is supposedly ready for prime time, so this Standard and Poor’s announcement comes along at a good time from SAP’s vantage point. Those who have thought about beefing up on their GRC product knowledge should probably start now.

Another skills takeway from the conference: one of my first “tweets” said “SAP/BO is on an aggressive ‘replace Hyperion with EPM’ campaign…with some success.” I made a note of this because Hyperion has been entrenched on SAP customer sites for as long as I can remember. Now that Oracle owns Hyperion, SAP is feeling an increased urgency to get Hyperion out of SAP user sites, and for obvious reasons.

But SAP knows that in the area of performance management and analysis, you cannot get customers to accept anything but best-of-breed solutions. SAP’s success getting its customers to replace Hyperion with SAP EPM shows you the caliber of the combined SAP/BO offering in the EPM area. So, add “EPM” skills to the list of SAP skills to put on the wish list.

Of all the speakers I was able to see at the conference, I was especially impressed with Lee Dittmar, Principal with Deloitte Consulting. Lee, who is the national leader of Deloitte’s Enterprise Governance practice and the global leader of the Governance, Risk and Compliance practice, impressed me with the sharpness of his comments on the BI market, and especially with his honesty. When I first posted the tweets on Lee, I stupidly attributed them to the Accenture speaker, so now is my chance to set the record straight.

My first post on Lee said, “Big honesty points for Lee Dittmar: ‘We’re still working in silos, still buying point solutions… it’s holding us back!’” I believe it was Lee who also went on to say that the overall BI market was healthy enough that it almost seemed to be “countercyclical,” given the overall slump in the economy.

I was able to talk with Lee after his panel appearance, and he elaborated on a few of his comments. One thing he said was that in terms of consulting demand, a particularly strong area was Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC), which in the combined SAP/BO portfolio, is now powered by SAP’s OutlookSoft acquisition. But Lee also noted a strong level of across-the-board BI demand – enough to warrant significant training and ramp up. I hope to have Lee on a podcast down the line to delve further into his views on the SAP BO market.

Lee’s honest comment about the continuing reality of corporate silos led to a number of good discussions. This topic came up again in a press briefing in the afternoon. The takeaway? That the expansion of BI across the enterprise, driven by BO’s capabilities to do more for non-financial users than SAP historically has provided, is forcing the issue on silos and sparking collaboration amongst constituents and leaders that didn’t previously work together.

It will be interesting to see if this holds true and if so, how the change management issues raised by the spread of ERP reporting throughout the user community are addressed. But from a skills perspective, we can certainly see that mastering BO’s reporting tools and learning how they tie into a broad range of SAP consulting specializations is a good use of one’s time.

Here are some more skills-based predictions that I extrapolated from the overall trends of the BO Summit:

- We can expect to see numerous BW 3.5 to 7.0 conversions, as some of the latest BI/BO capabilities are only available to BI 7.0 customers.

- There is increased interest in BO products across the board by SAP customers, in particular, for high performance reporting products like Crystal Reports and also Polestar, BO’s open query, keyword-based search tool.

- That last point will drive the need for BIA, SAP’s Business Intelligence Accelerator, as these cutting edge searches have high performance needs, so an in-memory database like BIA is a must.

- Expect a strong need for data architects and data warehousing experts who can help companies map out the best strategy for combining SAP BI and BO environments.

- There should be continuing demand for SAP developers who can customize interfaces for user-friendly, role specific information delivery, in particular for SAP Portals but also for mobile devices. Note, however, that increasingly, this will involve Java skills and not ABAP, as BO’s tools are not ABAP-based.

- BI/BO is no longer just a skills specialization, but something all SAP consultants need to add to their skill set.

- The BO “Edge Series” is now creating more opportunities in the midmarket, where the BO suite is now second only to Microsoft.

Obviously, there was a lot to absorb at the BO Summit, and there’s a dizzying array of activity taking place in the SAP/BO space. I hope this blog entry took away from the confusion rather than adding to it.

In closing, I would just like to mention that as I tweeted at the show, I am still struggling with the catch phrase “BobJ” that insiders use to refer to Business Objects. Perhaps I just need to get with the program; I will admit that I am grudgingly jealous of people who can say something so corny and do it without an ounce of self-consciousness. Now that’s a skill to shoot for!

WordPress database error: [Incorrect file format 'jos_wp_comments']
SELECT * FROM jos_wp_comments WHERE comment_post_ID = '60' AND comment_approved = '1' ORDER BY comment_date

No Comments

Add your own comment...

JonERP Feature Video

Browse Jon's YouTube SAP Videos
Read Ultimate SAP User Guide reviews

What is Jon Up to Now?

Track Jon in real-time on Twitter
See his latest diginomica blogs

Get Jon's SAP Blog + Videocast Feed (or Email Notifications)

Jon's "Get All My SAP Content" RSS Feed

or Subscribe to the Feed by Email

The Latest JonERP Feedback

"I have referenced your articles on for my internal Fujitsu colleagues on how the functional skill set is changing. It's not just theory, but real life change and the need for new SAP skills."

- Ranjan Baghel, Associate Director, Fujitsu America - Site Feedback

"I can't imagine any SAP professional who is serious about their career not utilizing the website. I know I used it frequently when I did SAP consulting. I use it even more now and I know my colleagues go there quite frequently to increase their knowledge of the SAP market, it is a source of great information."

- David Dawson, SAP Direct Hire Consultant, Acsys -

More Site Feedback

"Jon, you are definitely spot on with your analysis of the SAP market. I've been using your websites for over five years now. Instead of buying all the SAP books, I use your stuff to catch up with what's new in the ever-increasing SAP market." - Mark Reader Feedback

"I've kept up with your site for a long time and your articles via and elsewhere. I just realized a few months ago that you were also the author of the first SAP Consulting book that I read when I decided to take the leap from working at a Utility company to becoming an SAP Consultant. The SAP Consultant Handbook is a staple for any SAP consultant, new or experienced. I just wanted to thank you for the quality work."

- J. Michael Peace, Independent SAP Consultant -