Welcome to Demo Jam Live--SAP's developer fest meets American Idol. Here's how it works: Techies submitted proposals for their newfangled enterprise creations and the list was whittled down to a few key finalists. These finalists will then duke it out for the best demo of the night--as judged by the crowd.
I'll be following this shindig live from Vegas. Here are the finalists for this year's Demo Jam:
- CN Track Inspection System: Canadian National Railways
- Improve SAP Data Quality Using Web-Based User Interfaces with Workflow Approvals and Posting: BackOffice Associates, LLC
- Enterprise-Wide Spell Checking: SAP
- ESME: Enterprise Social Messaging Experiment: Siemens SIS
- Consuming Web Services Using XML Over HTTP: Apple
- ABAP Ninja: Panaya
- iPhone-ize your SAP Data: Xact Soft
Safe to say it's a big week for demos. There are the TechCrunch 50 and Demo confabs going on at the same time. I'll take my chances with this one. Why? This stuff may actually make it to a company near you.
I'll be back once the fun begins...
Back. First up, was a warm-up act about a car pool. A handful of developers that never met before whipped up a carpool-meets-Facebook-meets-SAP app. Oh yeah, and toss in a BlackBerry. Let's just say these guys didn't whip the crowd up into a frenzy, but what the hell--it's demo time in enterprise land.
Now we'll see what happens. TechCrunch 50 and DemoFall eat their hearts out.
Guns & Roses playing. There's air guitar. I feel nerdy how about you? Am I prepared to be amazed? Jeff Word, vice president of product strategy at SAP, revs up the crowd--sort of. Here comes the seven best demos. Word says: "No slides allowed." He forgot to tell Business Objects chief John Schwartz that. The other rule: No fake demos. It has to be live.
The bright side: There's alcohol in the back. Another bright side: If you stick around to the end (I have to) you could win an iPod touch. It's unclear whether it's a new one or not.
Oh no. There's an applause-o-meter. I kid you not. Crowd urged to stop drinking and keep it down to follow the presentations. First up, CN Track Inspection System with Bob Moore presenting. Something tells me this will be boring as hell but have the biggest ROI. Moore talks about the problems tracking rail cars and all the various reports. Moore talks regulations. Moore talks maintenance solutions. Poor guy has to go first. Uses touch screens, mobile asset management and all the reports that go with it. The six minute pitch is tough. This is the enterprise, folks.
The applause o-meter-didn't go anywhere.
Next up is BackOffice Associates. The presenter is showing data workflows and other stuff. It may have been the best app ever, but honestly I have no idea what this guy is doing. You could start doing this tomorrow, but we have no idea what he just did. Applause-o-meter stinks. Data integrity is key. It's just boring.
Data shows up--literally. Brent Spiner (right) from Star Trek. Luckily he bails out the last guy. "I am Data," wins applause. Nothing else does. Data wants to be a comic. A very short appearance. He had nothing to say. Data rocks. Just ask SAP.
Next is enterprise wide spell check. This won't lead Techmeme, but may be interesting. The guy presenting has a good story--sort of. Nothing like an access vs. asses joke to get the crowd going.
The guy throws out more acronyms than I can count. He tosses in widgets. He tosses in Yahoo and Web 2.0. Still this app ain't much to look at.
The applause-o-meter goes nuts. Yes, folks. Spell check can win a DemoJam.
Now we have something called ESME. It's a mix of Twitter and SAP and other messaging. This looks interesting. Disclosure: I'm partial to this one since Dennis Howlett was on the team. He looked like a nervous stage mother before the event. Finally, something that looks interesting. These folks could get VC funding (that may be a stretch, but I've seen dumber things). Tracking people. Messaging. Corporate data. Woo hoo. It works with NetWeaver too (that's a big deal with this crowd). It's also open source to download the code.
Applause-o-meter sounds favorable.
Apple is up next. Apple is a big SAP customer. The Apple folks will talk about consuming Web services using XML over HTTP. Apple folks talk about how SAP and legacy data will be meshed with email and ported to the iPhone. It's a lot of integration. The presenter says "this may sound complex." He's not kidding. All I know these screens are ugly.
The lesson here: Not everything Apple makes is pretty. Presenter says: "I hope you are impressed with this." Applause-o-meter indicates that the crowd isn't. Other thing to note: Apple isn't on the latest version of SAP (6.0).
And here comes ABAP ninja. ABAP is some SAP code. Panaya is the presenter. Amit Bendov and Mati Cohen are the reps. They're talking about validation code, enhancement points and SDN. Applause-o-meter puts them in line with others. (I think people are too busy drinking.)
And finally there's XactSoft talking about how to iPhonize your iPhone data. Can these guys look prettier than Apple? Doesn't look like it.
The data got to the iPhone, but there were a few glitches. So much for going live.
As for the finalists. The three finalists are enterprise wide spell checking, ABAP Ninja and iPhonize your SAP Data.
It appears that spell check has it locked down. So much for the iPhone in the enterprise. The ROI is apparently in spell checking.
And the winner is...enterprise wide spell checking. Somehow it's a fitting end to the night.