SAP batted first this week in a game I hope will go not just into multiple innings, but will end up in a major playoff series as well. The game is about defining the real impact of enterprise software, and how a vendor join the league is the following: define how much your software contributes to key aspects of the global economy, and do so in a way that mere mortals (such as all those parents and neighbors who scratch their heads when we tell them what we do for a living) can understand.
Here what our first game looks like so far.
In inning one of Enterprise Ball, played during SAP’s Business Suite 7 launch in New York, SAP rolled out the following statistics:
85% of the Fortune 500 run SAP software.
65% of all chocolate in the world is manufactured using SAP software. (My personal favorite).
2.5 billion utility bills are processed by SAP software each year (aided, I will add, by SAP partner StreamServe, which helps SAP’s customers do this in an efficient manner)
And, here’s the one that knocked it out of the park:
70% of world economy’s transactions in some shape or form touch an SAP system.
That last one is pretty amazing – and, to be fair, probably not SAP’s alone to command. Which underscores the fact that Enterprise Ball is very much a team sport, and any number of vendors could be credited with an assist on that one. And probably should be. (And if that invite to the PR teams of enterprise software and hardware vendors to feed me some numbers wasn’t explicit enough, let me know and I’ll try smackin’ someone upside their PR head.)
Indeed, Enterprise Ball is also a game in which competitors get to show off their cooperative spirit. Or have it shown off for them, despite their competitive differences. So, in that spirit of sportsmanship, there’s probably a major assist for Oracle in that 70% of the world economy statistic, considering the preponderance of Oracle databases in the SAP customer base.
(In fact, I’m secretly hoping Oracle will bat next with some of their own stats on their impact on the global economy. They’ve been doing this in their advertising campaigns for years, and I hope they’re ready to move from the exhibition season into regular season play.)
What I love about this game is that everyone who plays gets to be a winner. Because the more we as a market can define the impact of enterprise software in terms that even our parents and neighbors can understand, the more we can also define to the growing numbers of enterprise software users why their mastery of what often seem like arcane business processes are actually part of a larger economic value. This is more than an obscure agenda – enterprise software’s growing importance in an individual company’s success is all too often poorly understood, to the detriment of user satisfaction and enterprise efficiency, not to mention a company’s return on its enterprise software investment.
So, let’s play Enterprise Ball. We’re in the first inning, and SAP just batted. Who’s up next?