Jon Reed Interviews Dennis Howlett on TechEd Berlin 2008 and SAP's Market Direction
podcastlogo_jonerp.gif"Dennis Looks Back at TechEd Berlin and Gives His Take on the SAP Market and Being an SAP Mentor"
Podcast Interview Date: October 28, 2008
Podcast: Listen Now!

In the last installment in Jon's "Tech Ed in Review 2008" podcast series, he speaks with Dennis Howlett, SAP Mentor and "Enterprise Irregular" ZDNet blogger. During this trans-Atlantic podcast session, Dennis shares his experiences at TechEd, his views on SAP's co-innovation strategy, and how he balances participation in the SAP community with his role as an independent analyst. One highlight of the podcast? Dennis' take on an important TechEd Berlin meeting between the SAP Mentors and SAP executives regarding the future of SAP development.

Jon counts on Dennis for straight talk about SAP, and this podcast is no exception. In this 26 minute interview, Dennis pulls no punches in his answers to SAP's co-innovation strategy and its new EcoHub initiative. A popular "Tweeter" himself, Dennis also updates Jon on ESME, a collaborative project that incorporates Twitter-like functionality but with an Enterprise-level focus. (ESME was part of the DemoJam at TechEd Las Vegas and Berlin).

The podcast also reveals the one thing Dennis would change about SAP if he could snap his fingers today. But if Dennis is sometimes SAP's critic, he's also a dedicated community member, and his passion for the SAP ecosystem comes across as he riffs on the appeal of SAP's community culture and relays his experience on the "SAP Cluetrain" on the way to TechEd Berlin.

Full podcast highlights:

- Dennis talks about how he manages his analyst work, his client relationships, and his role as an SAP Mentor. 

- The SAP Mentor program is relatively new and sometimes misunderstood. Dennis talks about what being an SAP Mentor means to him. 

- Dennis' ride on the SAP Cluetrain and why TechEd Berlin was exceptional this year.

- The SAP EcoHub announcement at TechEd Berlin and the opportunities and challenges SAP will face with EcoHub.

- SAP's co-innovation strategy and its relationship with the developer community. Dennis talks about the SAP Mentor meeting at TechEd Berlin, where an open discussion about crucial issues for SAP developers took place with key SAP executives. 

- The ESME project: What it is, what it can mean to companies, and what's next for the ESME project team. 

- How ESME differs from Twitter and how ESME can deliver value on the enterprise level. 

- The challenges in the current economic environment and Dennis' take on innovating in a downturn.

- The one thing Dennis would change about SAP if he could snap his fingers and make the change today. 

- Jon asks Dennis to help explain how a company as massive as SAP has created such a compelling community culture, including many independent and even, ahem, "maverick" voices.

- The podcast closes with Dennis pronouncing TechEd Berlin as the best TechEd Berlin ever.