The Village View

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

SAP appoints its first CTO

Vishal Sikka, formerly senior vice president and chief software architect at SAP, will head the company's newly created Office of the CTO, responsible for ensuring a "clear and harmonized roadmap" for SAP's products, the company said. He will report to CEO Henning Kagermann...

I had the chance to meet Vishal last year and was impressed by the conversation. Additionally, from what I hear, he's well respected throughout SAP. He's based in Palo Alto which may go a ways in countering some of the chatter about how the power base is moving back to Germany after Shai's departure.

Here's a podcast that Jeff Nolan arranged last year with Vishal and a few comments Jeff had at the time:

I was at the table when John was talking with Vishal and it really was a fascinating conversation. Vishal is, as many of you no doubt already know, the Chief Software Architect for SAP and he is based here in Palo Alto (although I truly believe that after doing this for the last couple of years his citizenship may in fact be from Lufthansa). The thing I like about Vishal is that he is not a longtime SAP employee (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing) and he is disarmingly candid and objective… when he speaks he is not just repeating talking points somebody else prepared, he is speaking from what he believes.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Tools and tips for enterprise risk management

Enterprise risk management is one of those buzzwords that has carved out more corporate mind share in recent years. Executives have always been focused on managing risk, but the process has been "from a reactive exposure-by-exposure standpoint or a silo approach," according to some new guidance from the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). But in today's climate, most enterprises would be better off with a "proactive, integrated, across-the organization perspective." A holistic view of risk makes a lot of sense, especially from a large branding perspective. In this view, Sarbanes-Oxley-related risk is one set of "risks that exists under a larger umbrella."

This is very interesting to read on another blog, as I spend my days, and evenings, preaching the holistic view of, not just risk, but GRC in general. Understand how the risk, regulation or policy you're trying to manage or monitor today fits in with your overall strategy and needs moving forward. Put policies, structures and systems in place that allow you to not only become compliant or identify risks, but stay compliant and monitor risks, both on an ongoing basis. Many of the folks I'm talking to have been working to do exactly what it says up above, move from a reactive mode to a proactive one. Hopefully, that's where the SAP GRC solutions I'm doing biz dev for help out.

This post probably especially caught my eye because I have a customer call tomorrow that I've been preparing for to speak about SAP's ERM solution. Speaking of that call, I better hit that sack as my flight to Chicago was 2 hours delayed and I've got to get up early.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Starship Enterprisey Radio - GRC explained

Fellow Irregulars Thomas Otter and Craig Cmehil have a podcast series (who knew?)

In this episode, Prof. Otter gives his take of what GRC is and means to Craig, and the rest of us. Think he does a good job of putting it in laymen's terms.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

SAP acquires Wicom, MaXware

Embarrassed to say I had my head down so much yesterday that someone outside of SAP had to tell me about these.

SAP said it bought Trondheim, Norway-based MaXware, which makes identify software and Espoo, Finland-based Wicom Communications, which makes Internet communication software.

More on Wicom

The primary aim of the acquisition is to integrate business systems, from customer focussed CRM to back office financials, with communications systems in order to streamline customer facing processes and enable employees across the enterprise to access the same knowledge and data. As Wicom points out, it is about making communications a core part of CRM and ERP, as it always should have been.

"It is about communication business processes and delivering those business processes no matter where or what channel," added Bob Stutz, senior vice president and general manager, SAP CRM strategy and product. "We see Wicom as the future of CRM."

And on MaXware

With MaXware's virtualization and user provisioning technologies, which are core to its identity management system, built as enterprise services according to SAP, they should be able to plug straight into NetWeaver.

SAP announces New Enterprise Risk Management Application

So, this is actually one of the products that I will have responsibility for from a biz dev point of view. Have been seeing a lot of expressions of interest in Risk Management. The last few years many firms were giving most of their mindshare to compliance issues. Now many, especially in Europe, have begun to focus on risk management. (Indeed, SAP uses the application internally, as we do with other parts of the GRC solution set). I've seen analysts' reports estimating that Enterprise Risk Management spending is around $2B annually, and growing.

Continuing to expand its market-leading portfolio of solutions for governance, risk and compliance, SAP AG today introduced SAP(R) GRC Risk Management, a new business application that provides organizations with an integrated framework to automatically identify and proactively manage enterprise risk in the context of corporate strategy and business performance.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

SAP builds out its Office of the CFO offering

SAP announced the acquisition of OutlookSoft yesterday. On a high level, this builds out the offering aimed at the Office of the CFO (i.e., the finance organization; those folks that roll up to the CFO, e.g., Chief Risk Officer, Chief Compliance Officer, Chief Procurement officer etc). From a solution point of view, this fills in another piece of the Corporate Performance Management offering. In that vein, OutlookSoft completes the CPM picture for SAP: Pilot gives Strategy Mgt, Acorn gives Profitibality Mgt and OutlookSoft enchances SAP budgeting and planning capabilities (enhances because there are existing portions of the solution set, namely Business Intelligence Integrated Planning and Business Warehouse, that have planning functionality).

While some may see this as a defensive move on SAP's part given Oracle's recent Hyperion acquisition, I would disagree. I think it's strategic and very much in line with SAP's focus on selling a group of products to the CFO (instead of the CIO as historically done). It's a pretty compelling value prop if you're going to go into the office of the CFO and pitch him/her solutions for Segregation of Duties, Testing of internal controls, enterprise risk mgt, management of other compliance issues such as global trade and EH&S, to also offer a CPM solution.  Especially if you can say, "hey,we'll offer everything from one vendor, under one contract on one platform."  

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

GRC blogs

So I said when I took my GRC gig that I was going to post more on GRC issues. Hasn't really happened; in fact, I've been posting less. ( Jason said recently, it's because I'm now working for a living). Anyway, feel like I'm finally able to bring my head a bit above water, so I want to start expanding my GRC blog reading. I've listed a few below that I will likely put in my feed reader. Please let me know which ones I'm missing.

Accounting Observer
Soxfirst Blog
Op Risk & Compliance
SOX Television
Audit Trail
Sarbox Survival Guide
CFO Blog

In addition, I'll of course continue to read Dennis' blog. Finally, as I blogged recently Amit Chatterjee, head of the SAP GRC business unit, recently launched a blog. (check out his recent musing on GRC and such here).

Friday, May 04, 2007

SAP & Web 2.0 case study

Saw a link to this case study on Steve's blog. It was written by Robin Fray Carey, whom I met at the Bloggers' Dinner at Sapphire last week, and draws heavily on comments by VP of SAP Developer Network, Mark Yolton.

This case study was written to demonstrate how a company can create a social networking platform that not only achieves its tactical goals of pushing company content to its target audience, but also broader, strategic purposes aligned with the company’s corporate profile and brand. The study will look at technologies used to develop the SDN and the BPX networks, the quality of the user experience, and metrics achieved, as well as issues related to maintaining and growing the network. Finally, the author speculates on how the success of the combined networks could lead to further revenue growth and enhancement of current corporate communications.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Girls in Tech invite you to 'GIT' Going!

Gotta admit, not much I like better than receiving an email with the above title first thing in the morning. Especially when it's from my friend Julia French (likely my favorite "girl in tech"). Even though I liked the title of the email I was a bit confused so I shot Julia an email and asked her what it was all about. I'll let her explain in her own words:

I along with Adriana Gascoigne and LaurieAnne Lassek created a much needed organization for women in technology. We are getting ready to hold our second event this month on Wednesday, May 16th at Harlot, 46 Minna Street, SF. We are asking for $10.00 at the door, goes toward venue and production costs.
GIT was born to further support girls in an industry that, traditionally, has been primarily, well, mostly full of guys. GIT believes that we'd all be better off by developing more resources, cultivating stronger relationships and celebrating our achievements more often.

From 7-7:45pm it's ladies only for networking, but they open the doors for us guys at 7:45 for a general gathering. (See, I "read the freaking agenda" Julia). It's in San Francisco, so have to see if I can swing a trip. Need to be out there anyway soon.

Julia's written about the dearth of women in tech before on her blog. Here's here posting on this event which I just saw before posting this.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Oracle launches financial-services unit - HQ in NYC

So, does this mean the subway is going to look like the Atlanta MARTA did last week?

Oracle on Tuesday announced that it has launched a global financial-services business unit, using its investment in banking-application company I-flex Solutions to consolidate its future and current acquisitions in the financial-services software industry.