Next week I will attend TUCON, TIBCO's annual customer event. It is some time since I attended this event but I have fond memories of Vivek Ranadive, TIBCO's CEO doing a quiet 15 minute pitch and then getting out the way for a steady stream of unscripted customers. This year promises to offer much of the same. My calendar is chock full of sessions where customers will be doing the lion's share of the talking. That's what customer conferences should be about. It's certainly what I want to hear. As I've said many times: vendors and talking heads like me can say all we want but business is done between customers.
This year, TIBCO has provided attendees with a tibbr application specifically designed for the event. tibbr is TIBCO's take on Twitter for enterprise and up to now I kind of went: so what? Earlier today I recorded a video which shows how this works on an iPhone. For me it means I don't have to carry around wads of paper or another device through which to get access to my agenda. That's a huge win. It is a great example of an engineering company understanding that: 'Quality isn't job one. Being totally fricking amazing is job one.'
Image courtesy of Hugh MacLeod
Compare that with the upcoming SAPPHIRE. We're just 11 days away from that conference and my contacts seem to be running around in breathless fashion. SAPPHIRE is a much a larger conference than TUCON, with hundreds of analysts and media attending so SAP have a much larger organizational issue on their hands. I expect they'll get jiggy with social media as they've been one of the front runners in adopting that technology track and I know some of the media related people are gung ho on this stuff. Even so, I do not expect to get an agenda until much closer to the event, perhaps the night before. As a stack of briefing notes. Even then I expect it will be subject to reshuffles. I suspect that if I want to get hold of customers then I'll need to go a-hunting on the show floor.
So where is SAP's tibbr equivalent? I don't know though presumably they'll try get something going on Streamwork. Nope - nothing in my email...yet. But what really bother me is SAPPHIRENOW. It's all going to be about selling SAP. Still, there's always the Twitter back channel. That's where the real action will be taking place - for both events. Hence my use of another Hugh MacLeod cartoon. Message to SAP: time to kill some of those sacred zombie cows methinks.