At a giant gathering of Indian system integrators, ISVs, and other IT
professionals in Bangalore’s Whitefield, Keith Elliot is mobbed with
questions. He is the head of SAP Developer Network (SDN); the project owner of
the company’s ‘educational’ conference, TechEd; and the key man who would
kick off local SDN groups in India soon. "You can feel the electricity. We
absolutely see a hunger for knowledge and an eagerness to be part of the SAP
story," he said.
TechEd runs in different locations-the US, Europe, and Japan-and last
year, this decade-old event first came to India, mainly through Elliot’s
efforts. He is excited at this year’s response: already 2,500-strong delegate,
only at the second show. The ‘hunger’ is to know of the company’s
developments in technology, products, and strategies.
A three-year roadmap for enterprise service architecture was laid last year
and 2005 is the first milestone where SAP "wanted a checkpoint to see what
it had achieved and if plans were on track." Labs had crossed the
2,000-manpower mark in September last week and wishes to grow to about 4,000 by
2006. It has invested â‚¬20 mn in building two phases of the India Development
Centre, the largest development facility for SAP outside Germany; another â‚¬20
mn will go towards further expanding the facility.
With India being the top three emerging markets for SAP globally, engaging
Indian system integrators and ISVs is top priority. The developer network will
look to do exactly that. SAP started promoting SDN a year and a half ago after
Elliot came to Bangalore. "SDN is not about SAP publishing knowledge about
our platforms. It is about building a community. SAP makes a contribution, the
community also makes a contribution," he said.
SAP developers, unlike system integrators who do the implementations and
interface with the customer, don’t have much experience about the workings
inside of SAP. Elliot was interested in getting this knowledge that was being
collected in system integration companies out into the community. "We
developed a program for SIs to help them get recognition inside of SDN. The
program is called the Point System. Every time somebody makes a contribution or
answers a question, they get points. These points in themselves have no value
but participants get recognized within the community," he explained.