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Two observations from SAPPHIRE

Many are blogging on the SAPPHIRE conference in Atlanta, I just want to add two observations from the day...

SAP on the Web 2.0 Bandwagon: Striving for full buzzword compliance, SAP's CEO spoke of incorporating ideas like wikis and blogs into their next generation of applications. They gave a quick demo of an internal expertise marketplace / community site, called Harmony. Looked pretty good, but it reminded me of stuff the KM folks at Monsanto used to talk about - the "Expertise Locator", a database of people and skills, meant to be mined for help when working on a problem.

I'm no Luddite when it comes to these new tools; it's just that I don't think they apply to the majority of corporate organizations, and really for one primary reason; not enough people in the "community" (law of large numbers), and no incentive and/or ability to capture knowledge.

Of course, these types of systems will work well in the Fortune 100 (large employee populations), and high tech / professional services organizations (where applied knowledge is their raison d'ĂȘtre). But in small- to medium-sized manufacturing companies? I want them to work, I really do ...

Duet is Still Mostly Vapor: Well, it really seems that way; the presenter this morning brought up a fairly nice looking demo, but went to great pains to point out that it was a concept demo, and not reflective of any currently available product.

Too bad, it looked rather slick, but I can easily see future arguments around architecture (which layer do the business rules belong in - client or server?) and GRC (where did these transactions come from; where's the audit trail?). Judging from the overflow crowd of onlookers, however, there's some pretty latent demand for this stuff...

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