You'll be hearing more from me -- and my fellow Enterprise Irregulars -- next week about how SAP has differentiated itself in the blogging community by encouraging our efforts and realizing the differences between us and the traditional media and analyst communities. Earlier today, I thought that Charlie Wood did a good job capturing some of these ideas in a post. He notes that last year at Sapphire "it became clear that the bloggers in attendance preferred to have group discussions with SAP executives instead of the one-on-ones preferred by the press and analysts. The bloggers weren't looking for a "scoop" -- we were looking for insight. Schedules were rearranged at the last minute and we had the group discussions we were looking for. This year group discussions are the default." In other words, SAP observed and SAP listened. And in doing so, they helped to mold a new media ecosystem which was still in the processing of discovering and defining itself.
But SAP is also different in other ways as well. Charlie writes that "There are two other things to note beyond the fact that SAP has formalized a blogger relations program. First, that program has executive sponsorship ... Second, SAP has devoted significant budget to the program. SAP pays all travel expenses for the bloggers attending its events—including in my case transatlantic airfare. Contrast that with salesforce.com, who invited me not only to cover their Dreamforce show as a blogger but also to speak as a technology partner and didn't cover any of my expenses." I concur with Charlie's observations, but I must add that we’ll only know that we have really made it when Larry invites the Irregulars to fly on his Gulfstream for a private briefing and does one of his trademark 3:00 AM landings in San Jose after the control tower is closed, picking up the FAA fines for all.