Q&A: SAP's Plattner on software, hosted CRM and staying honest
He also talked about improving the software design process
Computerworld - NEW ORLEANS -- Last May, Hasso Plattner stepped down as SAP's co-CEO and chairman of its executive board. Plattner now chairs SAP's supervisory board, the German equivalent of a U.S. company's board of directors. But Plattner is still active within SAP, and at Sapphire '04 he spoke with Computerworld about his current role and other issues involving the vendor.
What have you been up to since you changed your position? I'm chairman of the supervisory board, with some formal responsibilities to watch over the execution of the company's [operations]. I run several councils involved with technology, human resources and a general one where we discuss investments and acquisitions and so on. The technology committee handles all aspects of development. The task I feel most comfortable with is software design and finding ways to improve it.
What milestones have you achieved in that area? We have reached some solid ground with [changing] the behavioral patterns [of coding] and how we should engage with customers and with other people. We have to be much more complex: We build our applications on top of Microsoft Office and multimedia applications and embedded systems and RFID and Global Positioning Systems, and then there is our ERP and CRM and SCM applications. In these new areas of applications, we have to connect with all these other applications, and we need different design styles and techniques and different people.
There has been some talk about a "Project Vienna." Can you explain what it is? It's a development project -- not a product, like Longhorn -- to develop a consistent piece of functionality and move it a piece at a time into the mySAP [suite]. Project Vienna involves finding engines [software-enabled processes], and if we have multiple ones, we can build one to serve multiple purposes. Vienna is a big project.
What are you doing in that area? I have small teams to make prototypes of prototypes. I have always wanted to do something like they do in car manufacturing. They do dozens of versions of prototypes, and then management goes for "2-B" and they decide that makes sense and then they spend the real money. We give [our teams] tasks to fulfill, and the designers come up with completely different ideas.
As the market leader, what keeps SAP honest? Extreme alignment with the customer. With large companies, you can't convince them to act against their own will and desires. There is still enough competition -- our applications are far from being like Microsoft Office.
Are you pleased with your penetration rates around R/3 and mySAP? Till
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Box.com and Cisco WebEx - Throwing Down the Gauntlet to the Collaboration Game The recently updated Cisco WebEx for iPad app with new Box integration brings together two very powerful collaboration platforms from Cisco and Box.
- Shifting Gears: The Value of Customer-Driven Quality in Manufacturing In today's competitive manufacturing market, the customer must be the center of the quality universe. This paper details how manufacturers can improve customer...
- Unlocking the Promise of Demand Sensing and Shaping through Big Data Analytics Many organizations have limited insight into big data. These limitations have significant opportunity costs and can have a negative effect on identifying and...
- See the Possibilities Utilizing Data Visualization Do you simply want to collect data, or do you want to derive business insights from it? What if you could quickly and...
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,... All CRM White Papers | Webcasts