Hanging Out with Hubwoo in the Belly of the Beast at SAP Sapphire (Part 1)

Last month, I went down to Orlando to co-present with Hubwoo at a small AP conference, and since it was during the same week as Sapphire, I decided to attend. I did not go to SAP Sapphire as a ‘sanctioned’ analyst, so I had a terrific time walking the floor, speaking with SAP/Ariba employees at the demonstration booths, and attending practitioners sessions unencumbered by having to go through an ‘analyst relations’ group that often market influencers away from the sessions where reality lives.

It was pretty funny to not see any analysts around. Either they weren’t invited (like me), were cloistered away from the real action on the floor and breakout sessions, or were relegated to attending ‘virtually’ to watch a few main-stage sessions designed to spoon feed them the happy-happy talk. I won’t get into the details of why we weren’t formally invited as analysts, but I do want to thank all the employees who spent time talking with me (albeit nervously). You know me, and know I won’t betray your trust.

Anyway, the conference was very interesting and I will report back with more from Sapphire as we spend a good bit of time this summer double-clicking on the whole SAP/Ariba future state (I know, I suck at the whole “timely blogger” thing - I did do an initial report here!) When I wasn't attending sessions, I was hanging out with the Hubwoo guys at their booth. I did some quality deep dives into the solution and listened to some of the interactions with prospective customers. I found a strange kinship with the Hubwoo guys, who were obviously also being watched warily by SAP. (They were warned not to do any guerrilla marketing, e.g., regarding toll-free/tax-free networks).

I’m certainly not here to pump up Hubwoo, but I have attended dozens of procurement events for almost 15 years. And I have to say: I’ve never seen anyone as exhausted on the demo floor as the lead demo guy from Hubwoo. Hubwoo had hundreds of leads from the event, but all I know is that there was a lot of interest from the attendees.

Part of this may have been the lack of competition from other procurement partners (beyond the mega consultants and BPOs) being in the partner exhibition area (it was mostly SAP infrastructure stuff, as you might imagine). Regardless, I learned a lot more about the Hubwoo solution stack and will offer up my thoughts in the rest of this series. Even though SAP has obviously turned away from offering competitive network solutions to Ariba on its own, Hubwoo’s story is one that an increasing number of SAP SRM and Ariba customers are getting more curious about as they look to evaluate their e-invoicing and supplier connectivity options.

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  1. Jason Busch:

    Perhaps the interest in Hubwoo is not so much a reflection on Hubwoo as it is SAP customers wanting to fully explore their connectivity options, and Hubwoo just happens to be one of the proven alternatives to the “Big A”. It would be even more interesting to see the reaction in Europe, where outside of the UK, Ariba adoption is somewhat limited, and there is absolutely no clear single leader at this point.

    Let the network / platform games begin!

    Now the real question is whether this is the Olympic network games or the Hunger games, but I’ll leave that to everyone to decide …

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