Transparency 2007

by admin on December 29, 2006

in Innovation

I was tempted to talk about the issue of transparency at the fag end of last year but wanted to save it. The topic is way too important to be ignored while distracted by festive activities.

Josh Greenbaum was commenting on Oracle’s latest results. Some readers may know that Oracle is fighting a PR war with SAP to become the top enterprise applications vendor. Microsoft would like to be up there too but in my opinion will always be a number three. Josh notes:

Yesterday’s release of Oracle’s most recent financials continued to push Oracle into a race for last place in the world of corporate transparency. Its disclosures were full of all sorts of information, except the information needed to really assess how well the company’s acquisition strategy is doing.

How true. There was a goodly amount of analysis at the time, led by the laser-eyed Jason Wood but despite the probing, it is far from clear how Oracle apps are really doing.

Oracle is very much in command and control mode whereas, as Josh correctly points out, SAP is working hard on transparency. For me, SAP is rapidly ascending the ladder as one of my favourite destinations. That’s not me going soft but me discerning what is happening at SAP so I can be better informed. That has a huge value.

In 2007, I’m hoping the business apps division inside Microsoft will get better at communicating through this medium. They’ve a lot to gain and yet it’s really quite difficult to figure out who’s doing what, where and how – unless you have clues to find them. I still wonder what Sage will do. Despite the many ongoing issues it faces, it needs to get a lot better at communicating. It too operates a command and control approach yet as I found during Sage Connections, it’s a lot better when it does operate transparently.

SAP had a lot to lose by opening its doors to some of its fiercest critics. It hasn’t lost at all. If anything, I’d reckon most observers are far more likely to listen carefully to SAP than they were in the past. For me though, they’re missing one ingredient. I’d really like to see Hasso Plattner, one of its founders and a charismatic if mercurial person out there with a series of enterprise startup blogs that he mentors.

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