SAP's DemoJam is a competition for SAP customers, partners and employees to show off their whacky 'stuff.' Entries to DemoJam only have to abide by four simple rules:
- No PowerPoint
- Must be live running code
- Have business value
- Six minutes in length
A highly secretive panel of alpha geeks decides which of the many entrants are whittled down to the last six and get to demonstrate in front of 2,500 peers at TechEd. Winners are selected by the audience using an 'applause-o-meter.' This year's winner was Regina Sheynblat who works for SAP at its bleeding edge, emerging technologies group aka Imagineering. Regina demonstrated an Eclipse environment called 'Foundation' that enables developers to easily build enterprise widgets that connect with SAP back end systems like NetWeaver.If you're a developer, that's seriously cool stuff because it saves time and money.
At the DemoJam after party, demonstrator after demonstrator showed off real life Flex apps. Sirko Pelzl from Apollogic showed a Flex based distribution system that helps Phillips business managers better manage the wholesale sales information environment. Sirko showed a scenario where a manager can easily change prices but before committing to the catalog, the changes go through the business process authentication procedures
Flex was chosen because it improves the end user experience by reducing the number of mouse clicks required to make changes. This may sound trivial but in situations where the user has to update hundreds of prices in real time, this makes a huge usability difference.
Matthias Zeller, group product manager for Adobe explained that Flex's popularity stems from three main characteristics:
- Flex gives the end user a much richer and 'obvious' experience, where application training is significantly reduced
- Improves developer productivity by offering a large library of out-of-the-box user interface components
- Flex is browser and OS agnostic so requires no code tweaking for use among different client requirements.
That's impressive. I was much more impressed by the passion with which these geeks go about searching for solutions to tough problems and how much they want to make an attractive user experience. All they need now do is communicate that effectively to the 'suits' who cut checks and we'll see a sea change in the way IT relates to business.
That has yet to happen.