In a post called Can you spray paint innovation?, fellow Enterprise Irregular, Vinnie Mirchandani, raises an important issue regarding pockets of creativity inside SAP and Oracle.
Recently, small groups inside both SAP (Craig's Rantings...) and Oracle (Oracle AppsLab) have demonstrated new ideas that speak "small and friendly" rather than "huge, cold, and ugly." A few bloggers, such as your intrepid reporter, have responded strongly and positively to these developments.
At the same time, Vinnie correctly makes the point that these efforts seem disconnected from the SAP and Oracle mainstream:
You really think Oracle is ready to become transparent with its customers? You really think SAP and partners can implement anything for its customers in 24 days, let alone 24 hours? Can they come close to the web 2.0 rich experience for users? Will they ever get anywhere near price points we are seeing from pure play web 2.0 vendors?
While the big ERP vendors are hardly known for creativity, I disagree with Vinnie on a key issue. Rather than isolated incidents inside a vast uncreative wasteland, I believe these efforts actually represent the future. In addition, both projects show signs of popularity, meaning they are engaging and touching users today.
SAP and Oracle are prime targets during any discussion about software implementation failures. However, in this case they're doing something right, so let's acknowledge it.
Note to Oracle and SAP senior management: give these guys the funding they want. You can afford it, and their efforts will ultimately lead to smaller, more nimble, and less expensive implementations. That's the future your customers demand and these guys will help you get there.