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Sucked into an enterprise process speech pattern, I’d have to say this post concludes the “Badge to Back” process: Sapphire06 was quite the whirlwind trip into the world of large enterprise process applications. I’ve been to many, many conferences, but this is the first time, I’ve been to the ecosystem conference of a mega-vendor (unless you count Java One). Around 16,000 attendees and 200 Hardware and Software Vendors and Service Providers exhibiting on the tradeshow floor that seemed a good 15 minutes to cross.

As per my last posting, I attended on a “Blogger Badge,” (thanks to Jeff Nolan, Mike Prosceno, and Stacey Fish). Certainly the highlights for me were the many gems of interactions with the bloggers, certainly in the Blogger’s corners, in our combined meetings w/ SAP execs, and also at the various social events.

Besides Sapphire postings across the lot, bloggerly essences certainly comes out in Niel’s story on his naked conversation with SAP’s CEO and Charlie’s comment on blogger’s self-organizing and aggregating their efforts and syndicating their work, somewhat differently than press and analyst. And Vinnie, an ex-Gartner analyst, has certainly retooled as a blogger extraordinaire, even punctuating his conversion with a self-imposed limit to two questions after others bloggers at a Blogjam with trailblazer SAP executive Dennis Moore.

The world of big enterprise applications certainly seems faraway from my usual interests in rich user experiences, individual sensemaking tools, text analytics, information flow and so on. The big applications of ERP, CRM, SCM, HR, SRM and so on from SAP and Oracle (including PeopleSoft and Siebel) are predominately about organizational control, orderliness, and efficiency. Yet, I see a distinct leaning toward the themes of intelligence and knowledge processes above and even beyond the “systems of record.” Central services for business intelligence, content, search, and collaboration; metadata management services to the stores in different applications; composite application to organize flows across different portions of the business; and new consistent and simplified user interface layers all prominently appear in demonstrations, presentations, and discussions.

A long way to go, for sure, but necessary prerequisites to moving up the hierarchy of needs appear to be falling into place now. Consolidation and rationalization of the fundamental process systems using a Service-Oriented Architecture designed to supposedly lend themselves to composition and reuse will perhaps create the basis for organizational sensemaking at a level that hasn’t been possible before.

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