Monday, May 01, 2006

I've Gone Over to the Other "Dark Side"

In previous posts I have made some references to "going over to the dark side" whenever I talked about marketing types, salespeople, and selling in general.

For an application architect who has taken some pride in creating exactly the custom application solution a client needs, there is sometimes another "dark side" to be reckoned with. I'm talking about our fiends and colleagues who specialize in packages. Not all of us who've made a career in custom development like the prospect of our favorite clients looking at SAP, Oracle's ERP, Peoplesoft, Siebel, Reteck, or one of the other popular packages. It seems those "package types" speak a different lingo. Frankly, we are jealous of the salaries these specialists command. We wonder whether "packaged enabled business transformation" could be any fun compared to creating a solution from scratch. We wonder if anybody will ever do a big custom development project ever again. We fear we had better jump on the bandwagon.

Well, for a short time at least, I have gone over to this "dark side." For three days, I get to spy on my colleagues in IBM's SAP consulting practice and attend some of their training. One of my clients is seriously looking at replacing some legacy systems with SAP. In particular, I am focusing on the project methodology they use and the middleware issues related to connecting SAP with non-SAP systems. I'll get to spend some time learning the different approaches to this problem proposed by both IBM Software Group and (gasp) SAP's NetWeaver and XI.

Its too early yet to see how this is all going to turn out but my friends in the SAP space know how to do training. Below is the view of Baltimore's Harborplace from my hotel window. Its a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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