The Chess Game: Strategy vs. Tactics

Growing up playing chess as a kid, my father tried to teach me valuable lessons to better understand the dynamics between strategy and tactics. I have carried these lessons with me by continuing to play chess throughout my life in sports, business and personal life, and I am very thankful for these lessons early on in my life.

There have been many times when I realized how important these lessons were, one example was playing competitive college tennis when one of my coaches asked me what was going on as I was losing an important match: I responded saying: “We need to come up with a new game plan to win this match!” He said: “You only change your game plan if you come up with a better one. Now focus on executing the original game plan better and you will win!” He was right! And he was right throughout his coaching career which is why he was recognized in tennis circles as one of the best tennis coaches in the world.

In January 2013 I wrote a blog post about EMC’s Private Cloud for SAP strategy saying: “I believe this Private Cloud for SAP adoption will accelerate in 2013 which is going to make this year another exciting year for everyone in the SAP ecosystem”

Now at the end of 2013 we can reflect that we have indeed hit the tipping point for SAP customers who are deploying a Private Cloud for SAP solution. Clients are not asking us anymore IF it’s a good idea, they are asking us HOW we can help them to deploy their Private Cloud for SAP strategy.

As a result, we have also built up a much better set of internal and external capabilities to help our SAP clients deploy a Private Cloud for SAP. This has helped reduce the risk for many SAP customers. The external capabilities are delivered by a set of Alliances partners who have best of breed solutions, and have realized the value they can provide clients.  These capabilities combined with our internal ones are expanding with our partners such as SAP and VMware to create leading solutions with best-of-breed technology. There are still some within our organizations who believe that doing the world’s best Private Cloud Infrastructure presentation makes clients want to start their SAP Infrastructure modernization efforts, however most have figured out, that while the SAP infrastructure discussion is important and will definitely take place, the focus must be more on HOW we can help our clients start and execute their journey’s (deployment, migration, automation, orchestration).

We have been fortunate to have been awarded a ton of infrastructure deployments with our solutions portfolio in the SAP space in 2013…and we were also happy to see a large number of Fortune 100 companies running SAP proceeding down the path with a Private Cloud strategy partnering with us. One of them just sent us the orders right before Christmas which was a great start to the Christmas celebrations for us.

One key point we have learned is that Private Cloud for SAP is indeed a strategy. In my opinion, for those clients looking to only virtualize their SAP environment by procuring modernized x86 infrastructure are only looking at it from a tactical perspective. The clients who are able to transform their business by driving automation, improving agility and improving business and IT processes around their Private Cloud for SAP stack are the ones able to take full advantage of the true value a Private Cloud for SAP strategy brings to dramatically improve Agility, Time-to-Market, TCO. These are the clients that are able to change the paradigm of IT becoming more relevant within their organizations and over time shift the percentage of their budget being spent on keeping the lights on vs adding value by delivering new and improved functionality.

We now feel strongly about starting with the 1st step to modernizing SAP infrastructure in order to become Agile and cost effective as an organization, which then puts you in a better place to take advantage of innovative technologies such as Big Data Solutions, Analytics, SAP HANA.

As an example, if an SAP client has already deployed (or in the process of deploying) a Private Cloud for SAP solution strategy, then adopting SAP HANA leveraging the same infrastructure architectures as their traditional ERP through Tailored Data Center Integration and/or Virtual HANA becomes way more feasible. This approach then also becomes part of a larger strategy which can be justified through a business case. One example of this was EMC IT’s internal BPC on HANA deployment, which went live Nov 24th on 100% virtual (VMware) infrastructure (Note: this is not yet fully supported by SAP and VMware) only possible because EMC IT had executed a Private Cloud for SAP strategy a year earlier. 
BPC on HANA EMC ITCheck out his recent blog post on this topic and follow @putitonHANA to learn more on EMC’s internal HANA journey. Mike Harding and his team are truly doing some cool things.

I would also like to give a year end shout out to our EMC friends in the Data Protection & Availability Division (DPAD, formerly known as BRS – Backup & Recovery Systems). For years we have been talking about the fact that our SAP clients are looking for better ways to come up with an overall Data Protection Strategy for their mission critical SAP environments. Backup & Recovery is important but is just a piece of how to protect an SAP environment. With EMC combing assets from BRS to include EMC RecoverPoint and VPLEX to form DPAD (in Nov 2013 http://reflectionsblog.emc.com/2013/11/better-together.html), our EMC DPAD friends are now looking at Data Protection the way our SAP clients look at it; What data and which technology should I use for High Availability within my data center, across my data centers, BC/DR, as well as Backup & Recovery; taking the conversation from a tactical one to an overall conversation about strategy. 

We are looking forward to hearing more from our DPAD team at SAP Week Atlanta Feb 11th-12th & SAP Week Santa Clara March 4th-6th  in 2014.

My son just turned two the other week, so for the moment there is mostly talk about trains at our home, his two most favorite words: “Choo Choo” & “All Aboard”…In coming years though, I will definitely teach my son to play Chess, and leverage those lessons about the differences between strategies and tactics I was taught by my own father!
Meanwhile, I guess I will need to start by showing him Canadian Pacific Railway’s Private Cloud for SAP deployment with VCE Vblock 🙂

CP Rail

Participate in the EMC for SAP Social Media Summer Contest – #SAPonEMC

My good friend Jeremy Wonson (@virtualwonton) and I recently came up with an innovative social media idea of capturing EMC & VCE (with VMWare) for SAP customer success stories and then wrapping a contest around it…with the winner getting a spot on a Chad’s World episode.
We figured that we needed to have some additional fun this summer!

In so many twitter and blog posts around the world, it’s clear the value companies enjoy when running SAP on EMC and/or VCE Vblock, when virtualizing SAP, and when adopting a cloud strategy with SAP. In the midst of all this goodness, we wonder:

1. Who has the most compelling story of virtualized SAP running better on EMC storage or VCE Vblock with the biggest financial benefit or savings?
2. Who has the most compelling time to market story for SAP due to virtualization on EMC or Vblock?

Who can win?
Any SAP ecosystem individual (Customers, EMC, VCE, VMware, Cisco employees, Partner community: VAR, SI, SP, OS) can submit their customer’s story and win. Please remember that you must have permission from the customer to share the story (unless of course you are the customer :)). We aren’t regulating this, but if you win, part of the experience will be to participate in the Chad’s World episode with the customer. Since a success story is ultimately good press for your customers, and knowing the global audience Chad’s World attracts, I’m sure your customers will be more than willing to participate. We don’t require proof from you or the customer, but please be honest and be true to your good reputation. Once you email us the success story, we reserve the right to share your success story through a variety of social media outlets including our blogs and twitter accounts using #SAPonEMC. You and your customer will get good press whether they win or not! The most important thing to remember is that as much as we want to hear from the SEs, VARs or integrator, we want to hear from the customer even more! Any entries with customer quotes and customer input will automatically score higher in our compelling-stuff-o-meter.

To compete, email your success story in a format of a write up and/or short video to:
henrik.wagner@emc.com
These SAP success stories/videos will be posted on https://henrikwagner.wordpress.com
Winners will be judged in 2 categories:
1. Most Compelling financial benefit story
2. Most Compelling time to market story

The grand prize winner in each category will enjoy a spot together on an upcoming Chad’s World episode with a member of the customer’s IT staff. You and your customer will have the opportunity to discuss the success story of virtualized SAP running better on EMC and/or Vblock with Chad Sakac. With the global reach Chad’s World enjoys, this will be a great opportunity to showcase a customer’s SAP success story.
Get your stories in for the contest this summer and then towards the end of the summer in Aug we will announce the winners. Game On!!!…and dont forget to use the #SAPonEMC twitter tag

“Uber” Automate your SAP Landscape

There is a huge opportunity to modernize the legacy platforms that SAP customers are running on in order to: lower overall costs, increase agility, reduce risk, and free up funds for innovation to help customers gain competitive advantages in their respective industries.

In previous blog posts I outlined my thoughts on a Private Cloud for SAP strategy to accomplish these goals. Key foundations of this strategy are leveraging x86, VMware Virtualization and driving Automation and Orchestration in your SAP landscapes.

In recent keynotes, I have heard SAP executives tell the story about “why does it takes 35 clicks to order a new laptop from the company that you work for, yet it only takes 3 clicks on your mobile phone to order a pizza from Papa John’s”. Clearly there is an opportunity to improve business processes and drive automation in many aspects of businesses including IT organizations.

In the last few months I have starting to use “Uber” (“Everyone’s Private Driver”) for car services in my home town as well as on business trips. For those who don’t know Uber, they have an absolutely brilliant business model leveraging existing executive car services empowering them with technology that benefit the drives with higher utilization rate, the customers – with a reliable, easy to use and friendly customer experience and of course Uber (the company). When you have the Uber app on your iPhone, it literally only takes 1 click to order a car service, get picked up and dropped off, and payments are automatically taken care of. Your Uber profile works with the GPS on your phone and your pre-populated credit card info in the app…stepping out of the car to get dropped off without having to sign anything feels a bit odd the first few times, but then you come to appreciate the simplicity of the experience.

Papa John’s took our end user customer experience from 35 clicks to 3…Uber just elevated the Automation to 1 click. Can we do the same in the Automation and Orchestration of our SAP landscapes? Certainly there are policies and compliance requirements, which have to be followed when provisioning applications and infrastructure resources around SAP, however what if we were able to “Uber Simplify” these tasks? Perhaps we would be accelerating the paradigm of our SAP customers, thus allowing them to spend more budget on Innovation vs keeping the “lights on”?

I am very interested to see the progress of SAP Application and Infrastructure Automation solutions such as SAP’s NetWeaver Landscape Virtualization Management (LVM), VCE’s Vision, Cisco Intelligent Automation, EMC’s ViPR (Software-Defined Platform Strategy), VMware’s vCloud portfolio etc. to achieve these goals.

Let’s set a goal to “Uber Automate” our SAP customers’ application and infrastructure environments!

Top 11 items I am fired up about for SAP Sapphire in Orlando this week

Sapphire Image new

In no particular order…

1. SAP Partner Summit, which I am at right now to hear the direction of SAP from a partner perspective, especially with recent disruptive technology announcements of HANA Suite, HEC (HANA Enterprise Cloud), etc.

2. SAP presenting HFOBD (Human Face of Big Data) story at an exclusive event tonight at 6.30 pm – Steve Lucas SAP EVP & Rick Smolan are presenting the HFOBD project which is very interesting considering EMC was one of the founding sponsors of this project. Perhaps this is another area of “glue” between SAP and EMC that will accelerate this week (?)

3. Customer meetings while at Sapphire AND the # of customer meetings (8 as of now) you can fit over 3-4 days. I look forward to asking questions, listening, sharing our strategy and sharing my views on how we can better align around our SAP customer’s goals and initiatives.

4. SAP Ecosystem Partner meetings with SIs, SPs, and Boutique consulting firms (7 as of now) to better understand how we can work together in the SAP Ecosystem to Co-Innovate faster for our joint customers. Just had the fortune to have lunch with Alexander Zeier of Accenture who is one of the original founders of HANA with Hasso Platner and also co-author of “In-Memory Data Management” by Plattner – Zeier. Need to get a copy signed by my new friend Alexander.
Alezander Zeier Sapphire 2013

5. Meetings and interactions with SAP including all the SAP Mentors. I am fortunate to have many good friends at SAP who have helped me tremendously in navigating the inner SAP circle as well as the partner ecosystem. Always look forward to spending some quality time with some of these guys who I view as some of the top innovators and thought leaders in the industry.

6. SAP Executive Keynotes: Bill McDermott (co-CEO), my Danish/Swedish friend Jim Hagemann Snabe (Co-CEO), Vishal Sikka (CTO) and Hasso Plattner (Founder and head of the Board). The SAP Sapphire keynotes are always entertaining and Grande. Last year they started with Actor Gabriel Byrne giving a 15 mins SAP Strategy and value prop. Who doesn’t like a top actor from one of the best movies of all time (Usual Suspects) kicking off a corporate keynote?!
I also sent a message to Jim Hagemann Snabe to see if he is open for a 10 mins Danish/Swedish “Kaffe rast” (Scandinavian Coffee moment)…doubt that he has time. But who knows 🙂

7. Our friends Dave Vellante & John Furrier from Wikibon, SiliconAngle TV, the Cube are here. We got some time with them in the Cube on Tuesday afternoon – I love these guys; they deliver news and information in “Real Time” (just like HANA). These guys make me think of one of my favorite quotes (I believe it came from Bill McDermott): “Make the news…don’t report the news”

8. A ton of EMC, EMC IT, VCE, VMware, Cisco and Partner Presentations going on the whole week in theater format, micro forums as well in various booth locations. Way too many to mention however, if you are interested, the ones I am involved in are Wednesday at Noon in the Partner Theater around Private Cloud for SAP & Thursday at 4 pm at VMware’s booth around Why VMware + EMC for SAP

9. Evening events! Between Customer dinners and partner evening events, the schedule could not be more filled up. I will probably hit the following events this week: Partner Summit Reception (Mon), HFOBD Reception (Mon), Optimal Solutions (Mon), Wipro (Tues), Secure24/EMC/Sparta Consulting (Tues), Microsoft (Tues), CapGemini (Wed), CSC/EMC (Wed), Deloitte/EMC (Wed). We will also need some sleep somewhere in between these events and the morning keynotes!!

10. Social Media Action with Twitter, LinkedIn, Sap Community Network (SCN), Blogs, Everything SAP at EMC etc. The SAP Ecosystem are professionals at social media. They practically live on Twitter (especially the SAP Mentors). Expect to see some Tweets using #SAPP2P (Partner Summit) and #Sapphirenow (for the main event) combined with #EMC, VCE and so on. Feel free to join the Twitteracci fun with us. Rumor has it @sylvie75016 & @cstreubert came prepared for major battle 🙂

11. Vblock for SAP users Group Thursday at 5.30 pm at the Peabody. In 2013 if you are NOT deploying a Private Cloud for SAP (On Premise or Off Premise with a Service Provider) to reduce your current TCO, my prediction is that you will fall in the innovation curve for the ability to be more Agile…reacting and moving at the pace that the business comes to expect in order to have a competitive edge.

P.S. Rumor also has it that EMC EVP & CMO, Jeremy Burton will be here for the SAP CMO Forum on Wednesday. That would very cool. Lets bring out some Transformation Mojo from EMC World!!

GAME ON!!!

Getting Inspired and “Transformed” at EMC World while preparing for SAP Sapphire next week

Having a ton of fun at EMC World 2013 in Las Vegas having great conversations with customers, partners and internal EMCers, many of which are “change agents” in the SAP Ecosystem and make an impact for all. Not only am I seeing how our SAP customers and partners looking for new ways to Transform, but also how EMC is stepping up to help customers truly “Lead Your Transformation” which is the theme of the conference!
Had an opportunity to present our SAP Cloud & HANA strategy at the Global Partner Summit on Monday afternoon followed by conversations with those partners on their SAP business, which was very cool!
Also had an opportunity to chat with John Furrier & Dave Vellante on the Cube Tuesday afternoon about topics that I am very passionate about including finding new innovative ways to enage and aligning with customers & partners in the SAP Ecosystem as well as leverage Social for collaboration. We talked about the impact of SAP Week at EMC’s EBC over the last few weeks, how we have change the model from pitching our SAP customers products a few years back to discussing and collaborating with our SAP clients using customer-to-customer engagement models to focus on HOW EMC Solutions can help our SAP customers solve their Application and Infrastructure challenges and requirements as their Transforming their SAP environments. Also spoke about the idea we came up with during dinner with Mike Harding (SAP Architect on EMC IT Project Propel) about having him document EMC IT’s HANA journey on twitter using the @putitonHANA twitter handle. Just a brilliant new way of communicating valuable information to the Ecosystem. We need to be doing more cool things like that! 🙂
Check out the Cube video for more here…

I am now Inspired to head to SAP Sapphire next week in Orlando to continue my own Transformation journey as well as contuning contributing to the journey of our SAP ecosytem customers and partners!
But before that…Bruno Mars is rocking the house tonight at EMC World 🙂

This has to be another EMC record…April 11th 2013

Growing up in Stockholm Sweden I don’t think I ever heard the phrase “Go big or go home”. Perhaps it was somewhere along my journey in competitive tennis playing in college for the Wildcats that I became familiar with the phrase.

One of our goals is to be more relevant to our SAP customers, Ecosystem partners and internal EMCers in every conversation we have. By sponsoring and speaking at 4 different SAP related events globally in one day: April 11th, hopefully we get closer of achieving this goal. It also must be an EMC record! Perhaps even a SAP record of having a partner sponsoring and hosting SAP customer in 4 different locations (?). I need to check with my SAP marketing friends on this. Either way…Pretty cool 🙂

EMC is a sponsor and speaker at the SAP Cloud & Virtualization Week 2013 (#SAPvWeek) – April (9th-) 11th at SAP Labs in Palo Alto

EMC is a sponsor and speaker at the SAP High Tech Forum, April 11th at EMC Hopkinton, MA Briefing Center

EMC is a sponsor at the SAP Media Innovation Day April 11th in Universal City, CA

EMC is hosting customers at the SAP Week briefing event in Sydney, Australia on April 11th with speakers from SAP, EMC, VMware, VCE and Cisco

We are also passionate about our current ability to be relevant to our SAP customers around Cloud and Big Data including HANA. Last week I was fortune to hear one of Steve Lucas’ SAP keynote’s talking about SAP’s ability to help customers “innovate” and “move faster”. He also made the statement that the only way this can be achieved is to reduce the TCO on current SAP deployments in order to free up budget to deploy solutions like HANA, mobility, social solutions etc. With EMC and VCE’s current solutions portfolio, I don’t think we have ever been in a better position to help our current and future SAP customers achieve these goals and align closely with SAP’s strategy around Cloud and HANA. Take for example EMC IT’s transformation which displays incredible metrics and proof points on these topics. Check out these results published today in EMC Corporation IT Performance Report
If you attend one of the SAP events today on April 11th then you will get a preview on how we can accomplish this together!

What’s the next record we can break? Perhaps the # of days in my SAP runs better on EMC & VCE social media twitter campaign!

April 2013 is turning out to be “SAP Month” at EMC; Check out these events!

Looks like EMC will be painting our buildings “SAP Blue” in the months of April…and with the number of events EMC is sponsoring and speaking at SAP facilities in April, perhaps SAP should be using “EMC Blue” colors for their logo 🙂

We just came off one of the largest EBC events in the history of EMC with SAP Week at the end of February 2013. I looked at my schedule for Q2 to notice that we have a ton of SAP related events at EMC facilities as well as sponsorships at SAP events in SAP facilities coming up in April. How do we make sense of each event, when & where are they happening, and who should attend them?

SAP Technology Services Conference – April 1st-2nd at SAP Labs in Palo Alto, CA & April 4th-5th at SAP in Newtown Square, PA
SAP is hosting their first annual Technology Services Conference at the SAP Labs in Palo Alto on April 1st-2nd and at Newtown Square on April 4th-5th with five different tracks focused on delivering services solutions for Technical Implementation & Upgrades, IT Architecture & Content Collaboration, Cloud Platform & Virtualization, Testing Services and IT Security, Technical Integration & orchestration. EMC and VCE are co-sponsors and speakers at this SAP hosted event with our “Transforming SAP Landscapes building out Private Cloud for SAP Infrastructure” presentation. For loyal blog readers I may be able to help out with tickets ($650.00) for the 1st few that send me a note.

SAP Cloud & Virtualization Week (SAP vWeek) – April 9th-11th at SAP Labs in Palo Alto
SAP has been hosting this very popular event for many years which gives SAP customers and partners an opportunity to learn how to achieve greater business agility and TCO savings with SAP technology and solution offerings by effectively leveraging cloud and virtualization technologies. EMC is a sponsor and speakers at this SAP hosted event with a “Private Cloud for SAP” presentation.

SAP High Tech Forum, April 11, 2013 at EMC Hopkinton, MA Briefing Center
The SAP High Tech Forum is an SAP led event which happens to be hosted at EMC’s Hopkinton, MA Briefing center. At this event you will you will hear from visionary business experts and executives how the new economy is affecting IT and corner office, and how you can capitalize on those trends to innovate in your business. You will also learn how other companies are harnessing the latest technologies to power growth and profitability. EMC will have a presentation slot with Tony Pagliarulo VP of IT at EMC on “EMC’s SAP Transformation“ (Project Propel for SAP Cloud and HANA).

SAP Media Innovation Day April 11th 2013 in Universal City, CA
The SAP Media Innovation Day is an SAP led forum event hosted in Universal City for the Media and Entertainment industry. EMC is one of the main sponsors at this event and will have resources available for SAP related conversations. At this event you will learn about recent advances in SAP solutions for the media and entertainment industry, SAP’s vision for innovation, best practices for managing the emerging digital supply chain to deal with the sudden increase of digital assets sold and distributed around the world.

SAP Week events in APJ – Asia Pacific & Japan (One day customer event)
In Mid April our friends in APJ will be hosting a set of SAP Week events in the following cities:
Sydney April 11th
Melbourne April 12th
Singapore April 15th & 16th
Bangalore April 18th & 19th
Beijing April 23rd & 24th

The SAP Week concept of having top resources available on various topics and foster customer-to-customer conversations on SAP application and infrastructure topics, has proven to be valuable and has grown in popularity. SAP Week APJ will have representation and presentations from EMC, VMware, VCE and SAP. Check out our recent SAP Week Santa Clara event summary which ended up being a fun event for customers, partners and EMCers. Please contact Sheena Chen or John Clifford for further details on these events and to RSVP

SAP Week East – April 23rd-25th at EMC’s Hopkinton, MA EBC facility – (One day customer event)
End of April EMC is taking the SAP Week event concept out to our headquarters outside Boston for the first time. There has already been tremendous feedback with a large number of RSVP’s from interested SAP customers. The concept of bringing in the very best SAP subject matter experts from EMC, Cisco, VMware, VCE and SAP from around the world, with SAP customer presentations on relevant topics, EMC IT presenting our SAP transformation as it relates to Cloud and HANA as well as fostering an environment to encourage customer to customer discussions during the day and at dinner…keeps proving to be a valuable formula. Come check out SAP Week East…to learn why SAP Week in Santa Clara was the largest EBC event in the history of EMC. Ken Saul from our Global SAP Practice team is running point on this SAP Week East event and can share more details.

SAP Week EMEA – April 23rd-25th at Cork, Ireland EBC facility – (One day customer event)
My fellow Swedish friend and collogue, Joakim Zetterblad, has been putting together SAP Weeks in EMEA for a few years now out of the EMC Cork, Ireland briefing center. Just like the US events have grown in participation, I am hearing that customers have had great feedback from attending previous events including the one in June 2012. It doesn’t surprise me that Joakim and his team put on a great event, he is an incredible professional business executive with a customer first mind set. One of the keynote presenters at this year’s EMEA event is Bill Reid from EMC IT Project Propel who keeps being a highlight for customers. Please contact myself or Joakim Zetterblad for further info on this event.

Since the topic of this blog post is April being an SAP Month at EMC…I will not mention EMC World May 6th-9th in Las Vegas or EMC’s presence at SAP Sapphire May 14th-16th in Orlando, FL

In February we hit a big milestone with the SAP Week event…let’s break another record in the month of April with the most number of SAP customer engagements in one month in the history at EMC! Come to learn, collaborate and have fun with us in April. Can’t wait to write a summary of these events at the end of April 