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Summary:

SAP, not exactly an early cloud adopter, thinks cloud computing will factor significantly into large-scale computing services, said SAP CTO Vishal Sikka in conversation with GigaOM’s Stacey Higginbotham at the Structure 09 conference in San Francisco today. But that doesn’t mean enterprise services of the future […]

SAP Fireside ChatSAP, not exactly an early cloud adopter, thinks cloud computing will factor significantly into large-scale computing services, said SAP CTO Vishal Sikka in conversation with GigaOM’s Stacey Higginbotham at the Structure 09 conference in San Francisco today. But that doesn’t mean enterprise services of the future will be any simpler, said Sikka.

“The landscape is always heterogeneous,” he said, repeating multiple times throughout the conversation the admonition, “One size doesn’t fit all.”

In some cases, a cloud solution makes sense; in others, a more traditional one. In some cases, a private cloud makes sense; in others, a public cloud offers a better benefit. SAP aims to offer software that helps all these systems together. And so interoperability should be a key priority for any enterprise cloud solution; a lock-in approach is less likely to succeed.

Even with pervasive electricity, Sikka pointed out, people still carry around batteries. Not for any lack of electricity, but because some things are always local, and some things are better shared.

Video of the chat is here:

Photo by James Duncan Davidson.

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  1. Structure 09 Live Stream Thursday, June 25, 2009

    [...] SAP Aims to Glue Together the Hybrid Enterprise Cloud [...]

  2. I thought this interview was a pretty mixed bag. There was some really good stuff on interoperability and the challenges of integrating cloud plays with on premise. Sikka’s distinctions on public versus private clouds were also helpful. On the other hand, it might have been useful if Stacey Higginbotham had pushed Sikka a little bit on Business by Design (BBD), given that Sikka referred to this product as if it were available for purchase now when in fact it’s not in general release and is only available in certain countries, nor is it being actively pushed by SAP channel partners from what I can tell. To me, if you’re going to talk about openness, you gain further credibility by acknowledging the lessons learned from the ups and downs of BBD.

    There’s also been quite a bit of headlines lately around John Wookey’s group in SAP and the SaaS play going on there. Would have been useful to hear about that or tie that in. Finally, why not be specific on the on-demand applications SAP currently offers rather than talk all in hypotheticals? Currently, SAP has a CRM on Demand offering, an e-sourcing management on demand apps, and some on demand analytics offerings that came along with the SAP BO acquisition. Some of these specifics and more awareness of the current blog discussions on SAP SaaS and BBD would have made this informative interview that much better.

    1. Stacey Higginbotham Jon Reed Sunday, June 28, 2009

      Jon, thanks for the feedback. I was pinch hitting so I didn’t have much time to prepare for it, which means I kept it pretty general. I wish I had a chance to ask about in-memory database tech that SAP is working on. I’m hoping I can grab some follow up time and write up a post incorporating some of your feedback to provide more information.

  3. Michael Libman Monday, June 29, 2009

    I concur with Jon’s comments, I too would have like to have seen him pressed more on SAP BBD strategy and future.

    I would be especially interested to discover if SAP BBD could be configured so that all the customers sensitive data was stored locally while everything else handled in the public cloud.

  4. Stacey thanks. I will look forward to your blog post. I neglected to mention in my own comment that SAP also has an on demand offering now in the carbon management space based on their Clear Standards acquisition. One thing you may want to check out before you do your blog post is John Wookey’s keynote from the On Demand Europe show (SIIA), which is now available online on their web site. Not sure if links post on your thread here but this is the link: http://www.siia.net/ondemandeurope/2009/next_generation_ondemand.asp

    I have heard some say that Sikka and Wookey don’t always seem to have the same on demand message so it might be interesting to contrast the messages. Thanks for posting this content and responding to my comment.

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