Sunday, May 6, 2007

SAP's Co-Innovation : A Myth or Reality?

'Innovation', the term, is so widely used and abused that Nick Carr must be thinking of writing another book - 'Innovation does not matter' ;-)

So it seems SAP's promise of “Co-Innovation” has attracted wave of new SAP Customers, Partners to SAPPHIRE® ’07. Later, Thomas proved that Co-innovation is a strength not a weakness . Unlike Marketing guys, Thomas did provide real examples of Innovations at SAP.

However, I got technical on the definition of co-innovation and why it should not be called a co-innovation. But Vinnie came up with a better logic. See comments on Thomas' post.

Now, in line with my earlier post Views & iViews, I will list the two view points here;
SAP's Co-innovation is:

A Myth:

  • Is it a customer/partner led Innovation or co-innovation? Do you think both convey the same meaning?
  • Will customers/partners get the share in the resultant IP. As Vinnie pointed, if they won't then it's not co-innovation.
  • In effect, is it lending/borrowing Ideas for further co-execution? Then it's not co-innovation.
  • Thomas said "When two or more companies sit down and figure out a way of doing something new, or significantly better, cheaper, faster, then I’d label it co-innovation." Most of the innovation that the System Integrators have delivered, if any, the driver has been the ideas/requirements from the user side or the ideas evolved due to SIs proximity to the users. But I don't think it was tagged as 'Co-innovation' then.
  • If it's important to bring people together from different backgrounds, to foster innovation, then why not do it as 'OPEN' [ as in ‘open source’ ]? e.g. why Colgate-Sap joint venture can’t disclose about what exactly they are working on? Who knows, if GM/SDN/BPX will have their viewpoint.

A Reality:

  • Co-innovation is a reality. But about joint IP and OPEN as in 'Open Source', please don't complicate it as yet, it's just the beginning.
  • It's an initiative taken by a Product company and the progress is being made.
  • Has to be done because it's needed.
  • Results will tell that SAP's co-innovation is indeed a reality.
  • Because SAP is learning from others like IBM.
  • Forget everything, it's because people at SAP like Thomas are honest with their approach and I quote :

"Developments such as the BI accelerator and enterprise search appliance with Intel, Cisco and GRC, and the Duet appliance with HP and Microsoft are also a step in the right direction. Enterprise services too, are evidence of a deeper customer centric co-innovation mindset. SDN itself is a big leap forward to openness and conversation, but there is much more to do.
I don’t think the SAP can afford to be smug about SDN. It is just the beginning. It would be a shame to say we have SDN, therefore we get this community- co-innovation thing. We need to continue to focus on how to expand, enrich and deepen the conversation, not how we market the fact that we are having a conversation.

Time will tell..

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