The Village View

Monday, August 27, 2007

SAP and Second Life

SAP Developer Network Evangelist Craig Cmehil will be "talking" to Thomas Jung and Rich Heilman LIVE in Second Life at the SAP Community Office today at 5:30 EDT. Thomas is a NetWeaver Product Manager focusing on Custom Development tools. (NetWeaver is SAP's platform, see more here and here). Rich is a Software Engineer/Analyst for Yorktowne Cabinetry specializing in ABAP and Java (ABAP is SAP's development language, see here and here).

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Michael Oxley On International Markets

"Other countries have stepped up and understood how important it is to have these kinds of standards...." Oxley said.

I cover the Americas for the SAP GRC group, but that includes US subsidiaries of foreign companies. The last month or so has shown a real uptick in the number of conversations I've had with companies that need to comply with J-SOX. Makes sense as compliance will be required for fiscal years starting in April of 2008.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007 adds another president to ranks, hires new CFO

Wasn't it just last year that Steve Cakebread was considering leaving Now he's going to be president, or more accurately, one of four presidents. He is, however, giving up his CFO role.

What's interesting is that they are hiring a traditional software guy as their new CFO. I think it was Dennis who made the point in an email to the Enterprise Irregular group, about the irony that a company whose motto is "No Software" keeps hiring big enterprise software company execs. (I think he made the comment after hired Rene Bonvanie, ex-SAP. see here and here). Obviously, as an employee of a big enterprise software company, I have no problem with it. My sense that it's another data point to suggest that will continue to evolve to look more like a traditional software company. (Another if true, would be what I hear anecdotally, that they are hiring more Account Executives i.e., sales guys and that the mix of Sales and Marketing spend is moving in the Sales direction). Graham Smith has an impressive background. But make no mistake, it's an enterprise software background.

Graham Smith joined Advent in January 2003 and has assumed the role of Chief Financial Officer. From 2002 to 2003 he served as Chief Financial Officer of Vitria Technology, an enterprise application integration software company. From 1998 to 2002 Graham served as Chief Financial Officer of Nuance Communications, a voice recognition software company. From 1987 to 1998 he worked for Oracle Corporation in various senior finance roles, most recently as Vice President of Finance for worldwide operations. Graham holds a B.Sc. from Bristol University in England and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

I used to compete against Advent when I worked at Thomson Financial. And in fact, I know several ex Thomson folks that work there now.

SAP Communities just launched "Community TV"

Craig sent this my way and blogged about it on the SAP Developer Network (I've referenced SDN in a couple of previous posts including this one). Registration is required for SDN, but it's free and a great source of SAP related info.

Anyway, Craig talks about how SDN has re-tooled SDN TV., has just become our newest addition of useful tools for the community. We've had a chat with the folks over at Kyte and Daniel their CEO welcomed the idea of us having our two channels there.

kyte allows anybody to create their own interactive TV channel on their website, blog, social network or mobile phone

With kyte, you create your own live TV shows and broadcast them on your own interactive channel, on your website, blog, social network or mobile phone. You can share your kyte channel with your friends and collaborate with them so that they can also be a part of your shows, by adding their own content, by voting and by chatting live with other viewers. With kyte, you can share your experiences live with the world and be the star, director and producer of your own live TV channel, wherever you are and however you want.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

JFK: the new battleground in the software ad wars

So after a week on the road and the transcontinental from San Fran, I get back to JFK last night around 10pm.

In the hallway/underpass back to the main terminal is Microsoft's new Office 2007 advertising campaign. As you can see from the picture, this thing takes up the whole wall. It starts when you come down the escalators and continues all the way to the up escalators; complete with monitors informing us that "It's a new day." Also, saw a demo pod closer to the gates. Evidently, they've rolled them out in Times Square and on 49th Street (Not that I would know, given that i'm never in NY any more).

So that's fine, Microsoft is a partner and I like Office (and didn't realize that Office 2007 would be launching soon). However, as I settled into my cab for the ride back to Manhattan, I drive under a big, lighted advert that spans the highway: "#1 in Business Applications - Oracle." Not the first time, I've seen Oracle ads, last year on the way to Vegas they had filled one whole terminal with Oracle SMB ads.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Airline delays

Remember the old saying, "Lies, damned lies and statistics?" A bit of this is what I think ABC News uncovered with this story on Airline delays. The network had reported the delays like everyone else:

U.S. flight delays are at their highest level in at least 13 years, and analysts say fliers can expect more of the same for the rest of the summer.

The Department of Transportation on Monday said the industry's on-time performance in the first six months of the year was its worst since 1995, the earliest period for which the agency has comparable data. In June, nearly a third of domestic flights on major U.S. airlines were late.

That's bad enough; trust me, I'm on the road almost every week. But, they dug deeper and found out that the actual situation is much worse than the reported:

This summer is shaping up to be the worst ever for delays, but the dismal numbers don't tell the whole story, because they measure late planes, not late passengers.

For instance, if you arrive three hours late and miss a connection, it can take hours or days to re-book another flight because planes are flying nearly full this summer. But officially, the only delay that's reported is the initial, three-hour-late arrival.

The same rule applies if your plane is diverted to another city. It's counted solely as a diversion, and the subsequent delay goes unreported.

Recently, I was trying to get back from what was supposed to an overnight trip to San Francisco
(I was supposed to be there less than 24 hours). My red eye was canceled and I got on a flight the next day which was delayed about 4 hours. I landed at JFK at 10pm instead of 6:30am, but I guess according to American Airlines I would only have been 4 hours late. Lucky me.

This week I traveled to Boston, Chicago, Philly, back to New York (by train) and then on to Orlando. The only leg of that which was not late was the flight to Orlando. Even given the fact that flights to Florida from the Northeast must be the slowwwwweeessst boarding flights known to man we arrived 1o minutes early. On Tuesday, I'm flying back out to the West Coast. Wish me luck.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Summer Sales & North Carolina

One of the reasons I took my job in the Office of the CFO (or more properly, the CFO Center of Excellence) at SAP was to learn how a leading enterprise application software maker goes to market (I also want to understand how large companies make the purchasing the decisions). Last week, I attend the Summer Sales Meeting in DC. A couple of thoughts I have coming out of the meeting:
  • Bill McDermott is inspirational. Now I know that you're not exactly shocked to hear me say this given that he signs my paychecks, but I gotta tell ya, every time I hear the guy speak I'm impressed. Usually you dread having to listen to any keynotes at large corporate events, but I enjoyed listening to his vision. Also, he's straightforward about his expectations: satisfied customers and making the numbers. Ok, I can wrap my arms around that.
  • An SAP Account Executive has an unbelievable number of resources to assist in the sales cycle. Depending on the product, he/she may have an overlay account executive, pre-sales, value engineering, solution principal, industry principal, product marketing. Customers (rightly) have high expectations, and an AE can draw on a lot of experts to help in the cycle.
  • The SAP ecosystem is extensive and knowledgeable. I talked to several partners at the meeting and then at a customer meeting later in the week. Some of the folks working at these firms have an unbelievable grasp of the SAP products down to a very granular level. Since I didn't come up through SAP consulting or implementation like my manager and some of my colleagues, I learn a lot from talking to these guys.
And now for something completely different: I am becoming a bigger and bigger fan of the state of North Carolina. My best friend recently moved from outside of Raleigh to outside of Asheville. As I had a work meeting in Charlotte on Thursday, I drove up and spent the last two nights with him and his wife. We went into Asheville last night, had dinner and walked around. When I was a kid we had a cabin in the mountains outside of Burnsville, which is not to far from Asheville (btw, if you go up into the mountains in this area, it's chock full of Floridians escaping the summer heat). Anyway, I hadn't been there in 20 years. All I can say is: wow. Counterintuitively, Asheville is like a hippy town. There were folks banging drums and jumping around in a park downtown. We ate at the Tupelo Honey Cafe which I had read about in a NY Times article. I had an awesome mountain trout. Afterwards, we walked around checked out the Art Deco city hall and more traditional court house next door. They are working on a new park and some new buildings downtown as well (much to the dismay of some local Wiccans that were placing protection charms on a magnolia tree slated for removal). Long story short, if you get a chance to visit do.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Larry's new yacht

Yeah, i know, i don't blog in almost a month (just shy) and this is my big re-entry on the stage. Thanks to Scott, for the heads up on this one.

So, it seems that Larry Ellison is building a new yacht.

Why, you might ask, does Larry Ellison need another yacht?

Because Rising Sun is too big.

As Wealth Report readers might remember, Mr. Ellison has been complaining for years that the boat he built specifically to be the longest in the world — or at least to be longer than Paul Allen’s — turned out to be rather impractical. He can’t dock at most of the world’s marinas, since his boat exceeds size limits. When he pulls into shore, he has to tie up with oil takers and container ships at industrial ports. (Not very posh.) Or he has to anchor offshore and take tenders to the dock.