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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Shai Agassi's New Blog

Shai Agassi has a new blog. Subscribed. His postings in the SDN used to be widely read. His farewell blog post at SDN was widely read and had emotional comments left by some of his admirers. My views on his departure from SAP is available here. He is now publishing a new blog. His first blogpost on enterprise software in his new blog opens up an interesting discussion. The debate on monolith vs best-of-breed software. Needless to say that Shai envisions a future where ERP's are core for enterprises for scaling up business. He views that closer to the core processes the harder it is to live with best of bread. But on the edges, he definitely sees things on the boundary line of ERP that will get interesting offers from many vendors.

Shai - welcome to the blogosphere this way outside the SAP world. My sense is that best-of-breed will again get more and more pronounced - after this consolidation binge peters out. Big companies take years and years to upgrade their software to cope with technological advances and when corporates struggle so much to upgrade to new versions- besides being costly, upgrades are becoming quite tough to execute. The joke amongst CIO community is that one-in-three CIO's may lose their job at the end of an ERP upgrade exercise( This is just a general comment).In general, customers also talk about difficulties in reconfiguring applications ( the reality is far from the easy reconfig flexibility that they hear during salescycle).

I went to the SAP SDN network site and searched for Shai Agassi. I wanted to get the URL of your hugely popular farewell note - but the results that appeared in the first page did not throw that result. Instead I got some URLS of posts made by others about your departure and threw 3 or 4 results that pointed to your presentations made years back. Neither timeliness nor relevance was the criteria there. Am sure a specialized search product would give more options for search and provide more relevant examples. That's where the best-of-breed players measure up well - for precision attack so to say as against carpet bombing. For example, even in the Apple example that Shai has higlighted in terms of implementation success( am quite sure that there's a solid story of SAP implementation there - like the case with several other of its global customers), I have seen other product vendors taking credit for being able to scale up their supply chain for their iPod distribution. Couple of years back, Phillip Merrick,the founder and ex- chairman of WebMethods shared with me how WebMethods has been quite critical for Apple in building their supply chain covering their logistics & fulfillment. The point here is best-of-breed may find takers at different points in time by business - though they may over a period of time try and consolidate, by then some other business in some other part of the world would fine best-of- breed to be appropriate for their immediate or specialized needs. Recent gartner estimates suggest that between oracle & SAP, they have just 40% of the enterprise application market - a vast % of market are served by a variety of specific solutions - some good, some average and some mediocre. This space is definitely not going to look only at stereotypical options and may like to experiment a lot owing to a variety of issues ranging from cost, legacy & specialization needs.Long before companies swith their core applications to SOA/Web services, the clod reality is that there will be something newer for IT to absorb. Am not just talking about future versions of Web services/SOA technologies “legacize” previous versions!

We will look forward to more of your thoughts Shai. Welcome again to the blogosphere outside the SAP World.

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