Wednesday, 26 September 2012

SAP may be betting on the right horses, but how about the jockeys?

Mark Finnern welcomed the new Sap mentors today, 20 experienced people with some ties to SAP. As Matthias Steiner says, everyone can nominate one, selection process is "top secret".
If I'd get to single out one addition that pleases me most, it'd be Fred Verheul. Congratulations, Fred!

A whole conversation unfolded after I asked Jamie Oswald about the little HANA, Cloud and Integration expertise among the newcomers. Summing up all reactions, there was HANA experience among a dozen, and Jamie assured me that

I decided to take a look at the whole group of 110, and see how they could help existing implementations. In plain English: how does their expertise add up to the latter?

A word up front. I found more than a few difficulties in completing the task I had in mind. Does that imply any judgment whatsoever on SAP mentors in any sense? Hell no. I just went through great pains trying to find out what their expertise is, and then compared that to SAP's current goals. It's not meant personally, and taking it as such would be such a waste of your time - so don't

I took the newcomers as well as the already active SAP mentors, ignored everything but their name and company, and area of expertise of course. Was that easy to do? No - the HTML code underneath is so diverse (cough) that it's impossible to parse unless by caring hands. Copied and pasted from various sources, it's a mess really, no standardisation whatsoever.
But let's just attribute that to the recent move from old to new shall we, and carry on with the issue at hand:

Abdulbasit GulsenIndependent ConsultantTurkey
Abesh BhattacharjeeIBM India Pvt. Ltd.India
Alexandra CarvalhoBI Group AustraliaAustralia
Alex AndrenacciAccentureSingapore
Alvaro Tejada GalindoSAP Labs MontrealCanada
Andreas EißmannData One GmbHGermany
Ann RosenbergSAPDenmark
Anton WenzelhuemerSiemens AGAustria
Arun BalaInfosys Ltd.India
Arun VaradarajanIntelligroup IncUSA
Bhanu GuptaMolex, Inc.USA
Bruce ArmstrongIntegrated Data ServicesUSA
Bryan EnochsAT&TUSA
Bryan WhitmarshSybase MobileUSA
Chris KernaghanCapgeminiUK
Christopher SolomonUSA
Clint VoslooBI in the BoxSouth Africa
Corey AdamsFrucor BeveragesNew Zealand
Dagfinn ParnasBouvet Norway
Dan GrewAstraZenecaUK
Daniel GraversenFigaf ApSDenmark
Dave RathbunPepsiCoUSA
David HullSAPUSA
Derek LorancaAetnaUSA
Dilek AdakMilSOFT ICTTurkey
Dipankar SahaIBMIndia
Dj AdamsUK
Eric ValloEV TechnologiesUSA
Ethan JewettBusiness & DecisionGermany
Fábio FernandesNeoris Brazil
Frank Köhntopp SAPGermany
Fred VerheulN.L. for Business B.V.Netherlands
Gary HookerFAHCSIAAustralia
Graham RobinsonYelcho Systems ConsultingAustralia
Greg CappsCoca-ColaUS
Greg ChaseSAPUS
Greg Myers EVtechnologiesUS
Gregor WolfSiteco Beleuchtungstechnik GmbH DE
Gretchen Lindquist Chevron Phillips Chemical Company USA
Harald ReiterDeloitte Consulting LLP USA
Harshit KumarCapgemini India
Henrique PintoSAP Brasil Brazil
Ingo HilgefortBusiness ObjectsCanada
Ivan FemiaTechedgeGroupItaly
Jamie Oswald Arch Coal, Inc.USA
Jan PenninkhofPhoqus B.V.NL
Jansi Rani MurugesanInfineon Asia Pte Ltd, SingaporeIndia
Jarret PazahanickEIC ExpertsUS
Jim SpathStanley Black & DeckerUS
Joerg NalikSAP LabsUS
John ApplebyBluefin Solutions LtdUK
John AstillSAP LabsUS
John HarrickeyCSA GroupCanada
John Moy Australia PostAustralia
Jon ReedJonERP.comUSA
Joseph ZeinounRaytheonUSA
Joshua FletcherASG GroupAustralia
Karin TillotsonValero Energy CorporationUSA
Lantao YangDimensionChina
Leonardo de AraujoBeyond TechnologiesCanada
Luke MarsonGavdi GroupBelgium
Marcelo RamosNeorisBrazil
Marilyn PrattSAPUSA
Mark Chalfen Bluefin SolutionsUK
Mark FinnernSAPUSA
Martin EnglishIndependentAustralia
Martin GilletFreelancerBelgium
Martin LangSAPNewtown Square, PA
Matt HardingIndependentAustralia
Matthias SteinerSAP AGGermany
Mico YukEverythingXcelsius USA
Michael KochPixelbaseUnited Kingdom
Michal Krawczykint4Poland
Michelle Crapo Perrigo CompanyUSA
Mike PokrakaIndependent ConsultantUnited Kingdom
Moya WatsonSAPUSA
Nathan GenezSerio ConsultingUSA
Nigel JamesSquare CloudSydney, Australia
Otto GoldXiting AGSwitzerland
Owen PettifordCompriseITUnited Kingdom
Paul HawkingVictoria University AustraliaAustralia
Paula RosenblumRSR ResearchUSA
Pete LaganaExcellis InteractiveUSA
Peter LangnerAdventas ConsultingGermany
Peter McNulty SAP Labs USA
Philip KisloffCapgeminiUnited Kingdom
Phil Loewenit360°Thessaloniki,Greece
Prashant Mendki BristleconeIndia
Prashant PadmanabhanSAPUSA
Prateek Raj SrivastavaAccentureToronto, Canada
Pratik TalwarColgate PalmoliveMumbai, India
Raquel Cunha IndependentBrazil
Renald WittwerIndependent Germany
Rich HeilmanSAPUSA
Richard HirschSiemens SISAustria
Rukhshaan OmarSAPGermany
Sascha WenningerAustralia PostAustralia
Shabarish Vijayakumar Wipro TechnologiesIndia
Sheng QiangZhengzhou Sanquan Food. Co. LtdChina
Siegfried SzameitatFreelanceGermany
Simha R. MagalGrand Valley State UniversityUSA
Simon ToFossil, Inc.USA
Sina MoatamedIT Strategist and ConsultantUSA
Somnath MannaIBM IndiaIndia
Srini TanikellaSMART Modular TechnologiesUSA
Susan KeohanMIT Lincoln LaboratoryUSA
Sue DunnellSAPUSA
Tammy PowlasFairfax WaterUSA
Thomas JungSAPUSA
Thorsten FranzAOK Systems GmbHGermany
Tim GuestSAP Business OneUK
Tobias HofmannBrazil
Tobias TrappAOK Systems GER
Tom CenensCTAC Powerhouse Belgium
Tomas KrojzlIBMCzech Republic
Tony de ThomasisAcclimationAustralia
Twan van den BroekCIBER NLNetherlands
Tridip ChakraborthyCognizant Technology Solutions CorpUSA
Uwe FetzerSE38 IT-EngineeringGermany
Vance PanDataCVGChina
Vijay VijayasankarIBMUSA
Vitaliy RudnytskiySAP  / Vital BI (blog)Poland
Wei Zhu (Ethan)China
Xumin ZhaoDimension InfoTechChina
Yakov WerdeeLearnIt LLCUSA
Yariv ZurSAPIsrael
Zimkhita BuwaCity of Cape TownSouth Africa

The rule seems to be that mentors are NOT on SAP's payroll - which I think is excellent. As much as I preach my favourite outside-in theme, this simply is Balls with a capital B. Hug your enemy, or at least keep your friends at a distance. Well done SAP!
There are 127 in the list so maybe someone should verify these, but I guess that either some old mentors are still on the list or the 110 is just an old number.
Anyway, onto the really exiting stuff: expertise. Again, way too much lack of standardisation there - apparently anyone gets to make up their own definitions. I tried hard to normalise the various definitions, and if I got a few off or even wrong, contact me and I'll give you the full list.
I replaced all the various separation characters by a single uniform one, ignored all the detailing such as e.g. Dashboard and Presentation Design (Xcelsius 2008) - which I turned into Dashboard and Presentation Design, and made a full list of unique expertises.
Then I used my brain and feel, replaced abbreviations by full descriptions or vice versa where possible, and ended up with a list of unique expertises and total count of these among the SAP mentors.
Where I found odd-looking unique entries not resembling anything near them, I left the description intact

Was that a [fill in the blanks] load of work? Yes. Most certainly. I might have made some casualties here and there, but the initial list of expertise was over 400 unique entries.
What did I not slam together? E.g. ABAP and ABAP Development I did, but ABAP Integration Technologies I left alone. ABAP OO got grouped together with ABAP Object, etc.
Where possible, I replaced the word " and " by the separation character, thus splitting one expertise into multiple ones. Again, this was a hard human task and the beholder of beauty was me

Here's the list, and the count - only the top 30:

Update September 28th 12:10 CET: I redid most of the exercise (see the comment-conv between Ethan and me below) and delivered the cross-reference list as one would like to have it. Here's the link; I hope you enjoy it

Web Dynpro8
Data Warehousing6
Scripting Languages5
Solution Manager5
Custom Development4
Enterprise Mobility4
Adobe Flex3
Crystal Reports3
Enterprise Architecture3

Top 5? The usual old-fashioned suspects, I'd say. Where are SAP's HANA expertise? Cloud? And the new Cloud Integration? Mobile? Mobile is at a shared 7th place, but HANA barely makes the list. In all fairness, Matthias pitched in for 6 SAP mentors with HANA knowledge not indicated on the SAP mentor pages (Rukhshaan Omar was present already)

Bottom line? SAP equals ABAP, judging from this list, and BI, Netweaver (regardless of how many different meanings that has had over the last 5 years) and Business Objects make up the top 4, followed at a distance by the remainder

SAP mentors aren't marketers, even though they fold under marketing in the books. Ambassadors is more what I think they should be considered, and the difference between the two is that ambassadors actually achieve measurable results. Given how up-to-date their expertise is on the SAP mentor pages, I can only guess that that's a fully manual people process

What if a potential or existing customer would like a SAP mentor to consult him on a specific area of expertise? I guess he'd have to go through the same painstaking hours of analysis as I've just put myself through.
Are you an SAP jockey? Well then where's your fricking horse - and where is it heading for?

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