Friday, July 17, 2009

Timeless Software

I just recently got assigned as the marketing lead for the Office of the CTO at SAP.

One of the things I am working on is to take the concept of Timeless Software (that our CTO Vishal Sikka has been talking about for quite some time), and find out how the concept is being received by the various constituents and target groups, take in their feedback, and improve the communication around it.

It's a fun assignment. You talk to 10 people about it, and you get 11 opinions. But the interesting thing is, everyone seems to have an opinion. Timeless Software seems to resonate at a fundamental level as something that "sounds right". But there is still quite a journey ahead to not only validate the concept, but to fine tune the message around it to the various target groups.

It's still early days in the project. I will have to talk to a lot of people to really get a good understanding of the different interpretations of timeless software. But one thing has already become clear, even though the names and labels might still change a bit over time.

Applying the newest technologies to make software better in order to support business change management - without disrupting the business operation - is the right idea for enterprise software. Timeless software is what customers expect. And it is not something that can ever be done perfectly, or be 100% complete. It's more of a set of attributes and quality characteristics every piece of software should be scrutinized against. Given the fact that we have thousands of customers who have run our software for decades, the fact that we have completed the enterprise SOA roadmap, that we have pioneered the switch framework for selective activation of functionality in our enhancement packages are all in evidence that we're well under way. And the new push under the label of timeless software will move this along even more quickly in the direction on software innovation on a stable core without business disruption.

So. That's what I think the concept of timeless software is all about. What do you think?