A Vegas Metaphor: Dispatch Two From LIVE

I woke up early this morning as the Midwest has taught me to do without fail -- even after a long night -- and headed out around 5:00 AM for a run around Vegas. Now, I'll be blunt about my thoughts on Vegas in general. I hate it. I hate walking through lobbies -- even brand new opulent ones -- and smelling cheap cigarettes (cigars are OK -- call me a hypocrite) in the early hours of the morning. I hate the flash, the gaud of it all. I hate the build quality in my massive suite -- expensive marble and moldings which don't quite align. But people who go to Vegas also hate folks like me. I jogged past three lovely, drunken ladies this morning @ 5:15 AM. All three of the girls were wearing 6 inch heels and the leader of the group blurted out: "what you're doing should be illegal in Vegas!" Perhaps it should be. We're even, I guess.

But the one part of Vegas I find fascinating is a world the garrulous leader of the babe pack would certainly find uninteresting. And that's the logistical world behind the hotels and casinos. I managed to take an alley this morning and got lost behind the Venetian and then the Wynn, and I tell you, the efficiency of moving all of the people who work in these facilitates -- not to mention the food and other supplies -- in and out of the places is absolutely fascinating. Cities of people and goods move quickly without delay in this world where sidewalks are unpaved and hard work actually matters and keeps the entire machine moving.

Call me a supply chain geek, but this is part of Vegas that I can get excited over. Just like the infrastructure, training and enablement needed to get Spend Management applications and systems to work effectively, this world is not be as sexy as a front end UI or vendor sales pitch, but it's what counts at the end of the day when it comes to making things work. Going back to the early days of Ariba ORMS, Commerce One and SAP EBP, I can almost see a towering Venetian or Bellagio with no infrastructure behind it -- like the mini-cities I saw this morning -- to actually support the commerce inside. Which is exactly what happened in the vast majority of early Spend Management technology implementations and why they came up short of expectations.

- Jason Busch

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