SAP briefed me, under NDA, on Friday night about Rob Enslin leaving. At that time, I was also staring at a fairly hostile email from another vendor exec in response to a request they become more open in their analyst relations. The stark contrast made me appreciate even more how Rob and others at SAP have dramatically reshaped vendor -analyst conversations.
While Bill McDermott and others are the public face of SAP, Rob became that to many analysts. That was not his job, but in his doing so I came to appreciate his role as turnaround artist with his stints in Japan, post-recession US and elsewhere in world and then running the cloud properties the last few years. Having done several years of overseas assignments and traveled to over 70 countries myself, I admire even more what Rob did at SAP.
I have personally seen his role in making SAP more “open”
A) My latest book, SAP Nation 3.0 would not have been written without the countless conversations with executives and customers SAP introduced me to. The book is tough on SAP in several places. It took a lot of courage for them to have faith that I would present the good along with the bad. I think I succeeded – early feedback to the book is that of surprise how balanced my coverage is. It also shows a SAP going through a massive turnaround which is catching the competition flat footed. They will need to quickly expand their product and geography reach to keep up.
B) I saw Rob along with Nick Tzitzon play master of ceremonies to two of the most vibrant analyst summits I have ever been part of. Conducted under NDA I saw one SAP after exec come in with only a handful of slides and spend time getting input from analysts. Sure it was painful for some of them but Rob and Nick set the tone for openness.
C) I have conducted hundreds of interviews for my books and blogs. I cannot remember one with as much heart as the one Rob brought. I ran it in a two part post here and here and it will forever for me be a benchmark for other impactful interviews.
Next up – I look forward to seeing Jen Morgan continue the trajectory Rob started. And I will continue to exhort other vendors to try and emulate the openness I have seen at SAP.
In the next phase of what he described in the SAP statement as his “new journey”, I hope to cross paths with Rob again. I admired the reverence with which he described to me the mentors he has had along the way, and I am confident he will be the same himself.
(Cross-posted @ Deal Architect)