I'm flying out tonight for a crazy few days on the East Coast. I’m starting the week at SAP’s Influencer Summit in Boston, hoping to glean some new insights into where SAP is headed with its On-Demand strategy and products as well as the latest in what may soon come out of its procurement and SRM solution areas. Clearly, SAP has its work cut out for it in convincing not only analysts, media, and bloggers but also practitioners that its Spend Management solutions warrant material investigation and consideration outside of ERP-related upgrade decisions. I begin to drink some of the SAP Kool-Aid when I hear its vision in such areas as spend performance management and supply risk, but it'll need a whole lot more than just vision and early proofs of concept to convince a procurement audience increasingly skeptical of ERP's ability to deliver cost-competitive solutions that meet the same functional specifications as best-of-breed competitors. Regardless, the summit should prove insightful on a number of levels, and I look forward to reporting back what I find tomorrow and Wednesday.
Throughout the rest of the week, I'll be catching up with a half-dozen or so providers and industry colleagues in New York and Philadelphia. I’m looking forward to connecting in person with, among others, ICG Commerce, Expense Watch, Volt/Procurestaff, and, I hope, Panjiva. It will be a packed couple of days and I'm sorry I'm not seeing more organizations, but I do hope to make it out East again in January to catch up with some of those I'm missing on this trip. And in between all this travel and keeping Amtrak in business, I'm presenting a live webinar on Tuesday with Endeca. In the webinar I'll share some of my predictions for 2010 as well as how new types of spend-analysis mash-ups like Endeca have the potential to transform direct materials-sourcing strategy development.
What's especially cool about this webinar is that we're planning on spending much of the time showing live application examples that highlight how to combine procurement, risk, supplier, engineering, and other data into the same environment. Trust me, it will be like nothing else you’ve seen before, and could very well give you ideas about going beyond the basic sourcing and category-management-related savings you've been able to achieve already in direct materials. The potential applications of visibility and analytical mash-ups of the sort Endeca provides are limited only by the types of unstructured and structured information we have available to us –- or can imagine incorporating as part of our analyses. There’s nothing else even remotely like it that I've seen and in this case, seeing is truly believing.