Comments from Readers is Back: SAP Sapphire, HANA, and Objectivity

Thoughts on Bill McDermott’s SAP Keynote at Sapphire Now 2014: eBay, Ariba, Fieldglass, and More – Pierre Mitchell watched SAP CEO Bill McDermott's keynote this week and recaps the most interesting quotes. Simplicity seemed to be the main message from SAP, who vowed to "beat complexity."

Lorenzo Martinelli, who appears twice in this post, is the first to comment: “‘Simple’… Yes, exactly the core value that comes to mind when thinking about SAP… and it will be a 7-year journey with a budget between $100M and $1B for a customer to get there… Where do I sign?”

Responds Pierre, who appears three times: “Hey, at least they acknowledged the problem! Hasso did a similar mea culpa in his keynote, basically… ‘sorry we were so complex over the last 30 years.’ But to quote Monty Python, the next statement was ‘I got better!’ HANA solves everything.”

Which is mea culpa indeed, considering that the original “I got better” was in reference to being turned into a newt.

Then Chandra writes: “With Vishal leaving SAP, who is leading HANA commitments? SAP has to lower the price for HANA and New GUI to compensate for suffering they subjected to customers. Walk the talk. Maybe in 20 years…another Oracle story. Disclaimer: I have been working on SAP since early R/3 days.”

Why Procurement Can Benefit from Working with Internal Audit – As GEP’s Santosh Reddy noted, “Internal audit is a team of versatile members who assist an organization’s management to ensure controls are appropriately exercised, processes are followed, reporting is effective, and risks are mitigated. Their role makes them akin to a policing force within the organization. And the typical human behavior around cops extends to the office environment as well, and employees are wary of even talking freely when a person from internal audit is around.” Santosh argues that this shouldn’t be the case, however, and explains four ways in which procurement teams can benefit from working with internal audit.

“It’s a key strategy and I’m glad you called it out,” writes Pierre. It also offers the benefit of using the controls to drive compliance activities that procurement itself might not be able to institute. If you do it right, you can drive some ROI out of those control, and Finance/audit should like that right? It’s a no brainer for pushing supplier risk mitigation and ensuring that no suppliers get added to the supplier master without procurement sign-off when those suppliers meet certain conditions (and for some firms, that condition is that they want to get added!) around spend or criticality. I have one ex-client that established an audit control procurement involvement about a certain threshold because procurement was able to demonstrate the lost savings and lost shareholder value when procurement was not involved. So, bypassing procurement became an adverse event and a ‘finding’ against a key business control – how’s THAT for influence! It’s good to have friends with big sticks to go along with your big sugar cubes.”

Finally, there’s the novella of a rant from Pierre Mitchell on objectivity in procurement solutions coverage.

Toothless Bumbles and the Search for Objectivity in the Procurement Solutions Market – Pierre asks, “What is an ‘industry analyst’ anyway?” Does the business press such as Forbes count? How about freelance analysts for hire? White paper firms like Aberdeen? IT industry analysts? Bloggers?

Lorenzo Martinelli is in agreement: “Yes, this has been definitely brewing for a while… Thank you for sharing what many of us have thought for a long while even if we all played the game.”

Sure, about nine people wrote dissenting comments, but they weren’t approved by the sponsor of Pierre’s post, so we couldn’t publish them. Joke! As those of you who read the last Comments from Readers column know, we appreciate a good lengthy argument like a French novel, like chilled rosé on a summer afternoon, like something that lends itself easily to appreciation, like a simile that gives up on itself halfway.

Thanks everyone who commented in the last couple weeks!

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