In the past, I’ve blogged about Twitter exchanges I’ve had with Craig Cmehil who works over at SAP. Yesterday, he, Ethan Jewett, who is an SAP BI consultant at an SAP and Oracle partner, and I had an interesting discussion about how to drive new web innovation internally. That conversation begot my post and one from Craig as well.
I doubt Scoble or Nick Carr would find the discussion interesting, but James “Redmonk” Governor did. Note to self: stay out of enterprise software != sexy debate. Anyway, we’ve been at this AppsLab thing for nearly a year now, and several times, I’ve had some raised eyebrows when I talk about Craig at SAP or Dan McWeeney at Colgate-Palmolive and how I like what they’re doing. Even members of the stalwart Enterprise Irregulars seemed surprised that I really wanted to see Dan’s Wii Hands demo at OpenWorld.
Why? I’m not sure of the exact reasons, but I guess people assume that because I work for Oracle, I therefore must act a certain way and fraternize only with certain people.
Obviously, I don’t agree. New web is all about openness and transparency. So, why would I hide that I like the Wii-Hands demo or the hacking that Craig does? I’m not endorsing SAP. I’m not publicly praising the company or a competitive product. I’m praising those dudes and their innovation. We’re like minded people, and frankly, it’s outside my job description to bash competitors.
James gets that:
It makes me happy to see representatives of Oracle and SAP happily co-innovating, working out stuff (on twitter natch!) that will potentially benefit both company’s customer bases. These guys can see opportunities beyond the shackles of success. They don’t have to agree, but the discussion makes them and us smarter.
Bingo. We’re all about helping customers. For instance, the primary reason we built Mix is to give our customers a new way to reach out to the people who build the software they use every day. We all know new web is about people, and right, wrong or indifferent, we are all free agents, as Paul says. I learned this lesson the hard way.
So, what’s wrong with having a chat with Steve Mann about social media or Craig about his experiences driving new web at SAP? We’re all professionals, and we act accordingly. This is why I’m psyched to get the Working Group off the ground because it gives people a chance to interact outside their corporate environments and share information of the non-sensitive kind.These aren’t single-serving friends either. I fully expect to stay in touch with some of the members as we collectively try to change our respectively companies from the inside, out. This isn’t what used to be called coopetition either, which is way more formal and less effective. This is collaboration of a new kind, and I’m excited to be part of it.