Drama in enterprise computing - Enterprise Irregulars

Ray Lane, a top-notch tech executive and investor over decades, said this about my new book

“Don’t be fooled by the title—the book is not just about SAP. It’s about drama in enterprise computing.”

I then used “drama” in the title of my recent ZDNet guest column.

Drama? That’s what you get in Augusta in April. Isn’t enterprise tech boring and glacially slow?

You be the judge.

My book catalogs the product launch machine SAP has become and the fact that its customer base has grown 50% in the last five years. It was on the ropes, the competition could have delivered a knockout punch but it has bounced back impressively.

Of course,  SAP is also generating a lot of interest and emotion with its recent layoffs and executive moves. From an investor point of view, CEO Bill McDermott has created excitement by promising to double its market cap in four years

Marc Benioff of Salesforce told Jim Cramer of CNBC a few weeks ago ” I see $30 billion right around the corner. In fact, we initiated a 4-year guidance today, Jim, of $26 [billion] to $28 billion.”

How can that not make your heart beat faster?

Last week, in his coming-out party since he joined Google several months ago, Thomas Kurian made quite an impression.

Also last week, at a SAP Analytics event, mostly under NDA, I expected to hear plenty about coopetition with Google, Oracle and IBM. Instead I kept hearing about Microsoft with its Power BI, Surface, Azure ML, Office 365 and other products.

Oracle and IBM were similarly snubbed by the DoD as it shortlisted vendors for its $ 10 billion JEDI cloud contract. One contract should not mean that much but the twists and protests in that one certainly count as drama.

When a case ends up at the Supreme Court of the US, it usually makes for some some oohs and aahs. When all 9 justices vote unanimously on something, it certainly perks you up. That’s what recently happened to Oracle in its long running litigation with Rimini Street.

One of the nice things about the Amazon Kindle is a feature called “Popular Highlights”. Amazon combines the highlights marked by all Kindle customers and identifies the passages with the most highlights. For my book, this statement by Mark Hurd has already qualified for that honor. “In October 2018, Oracle co-CEO Hurd predicted that 80% of business applications would be in the cloud by 2025.”

That para goes on to say “Today, even after two decades of cloud computing, industry and geographic coverage is spotty — by my estimate, less than 20%. For Hurd’s prediction to prove accurate, it will take massive new investments in upgrading industry functionality.” Will Hurd’s own products grow rapidly and get a lion share of his projected 80%? In January 2006, Oracle had confidently declared they were “Halfway to Fusion”. 13 years later, Oracle still mostly talks finance, HCM and CRM. NetSuite, even after 20 years, has limited global coverage as Phil Wainewright points out here or industry coverage as I point out here.

In the meantime, in China, Kai-Fu Lee, who has been called the “Oracle of AI” has funded nearly 150 AI start-ups. At Davos earlier this year, the theme was Globalization 4.0 which shows that Industrie 4.0/IoT concepts are spreading worldwide. Holger Mueller of Constellation opines about platforms “Why Open Source has won and will keep … winning.”

Augusta generates drama for 4 days. Enterprise tech takes a bit longer. But it has its share of comebacks and black horses. I will have a front row seat as I start planning for SAP Nation 4.0.

Or may be it will be titled Oracle Nation 1.0 or Workday Nation 1.0. That right there is plenty of drama.

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(Cross-posted @ Deal Architect)

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