SAP’s Project Muse – new UI

SAP and Adobe have had a long relationship, originally focused on PDF and forms processing and more recently on user interface collaboration. Project Muse is the fruit of that collaboration, it represents one of the UI options SAP customers can take advantage of. Written in Flash and Flex, even I can say that it looks pretty damn cool. Make no mistake about it, there is still a lot of work that SAP and everyone else in this industry can do to improve our user experience, but this project is clearly a huge step in the right direction. Perhaps more important is that this UI playbook and the tools will ultimately become something that our partners can take advantage of as well to build their own applications. Conversely, Muse is a UI for a backend that is entirely services-based which means that 3rd party providers will be able to draft their own services into the Muse client.

Project Muse is being built from the ground up as an open, standards-based architecture– using Flash and Flex technologies from Adobe/Macromedia. Project Muse can be easily extended to deliver applications, composites and any other service-enabled software from SAP and its partners or from other solution providers (think: ubiquitous business user interface for all your enterprise systems). The new client adds the richness of desktop software to the deployment efficiency of Internet software, delivering on SAP’s vision of simplifying the user experience and the software ownership experience.

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Enterprise 2.0 and Quicksand

Peter makes some really good points in his post about the coming wave of enterprise 2.0. On the Dow Jones conference panel I did last week with Peter some of these issues came out and there was some spirited discussion, my view is that at the end of the day there are 3 things that modern enterprises do better as a result of software:

1) Automate processes and as a result achieve higher productivity by through-putting higher transaction volume with the fewer resources.

2) Manage master data, which could be as simple as basic customer information or as complex as bill of materials which include a high degree of rules processing (e.g. supplier lead time).

3) Collaboration mostly in the form of exception handling, otherwise known as workflow.

The thing that makes enterprise web 2.0 so appealing to investors that understand enterprise software is that the promise here is the one thing that has locked out startups from big enterprise deals… integration with number 1 and 2 above as a result of number 3. The SOA underpinnings that every major enterprise vendor is building enables this by removing the high tax customers pay for process integration, similar to how XML dumbed down data integration to text and removed a big barrier for application integration at the data layer.

EarlyStageVC: The Coming Wave of Enterprise Web 2.0:

This is why I think Enterprise Web 2.0 is different from Consumer Web 2.0. Enterprise’s have goals and structure. People around the Enterprise collaborate, but the collaboration is (supposed to be) undemocratic, i.e., ordered and non-chaotic. Ironically, this is not a new category. We used to call it Workflow and it was on the Known Quicksand Sector list at every VC firm, along with Middleware, Knowledge Management, and Enterprise Search. It was a Known Quicksand because no two implementations looked the same. Users couldn’t change the workflow to suit their needs. Users couldn’t automate the dozens of little tasks of collaboration that they do every week.

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Mac SlingPlayer delayed one quarter

This is a bummer, not being able to use my Slingbox with my Mac is disappointing.

JeremyT (Sling Media)’s Blog – Mac Update:

Well, I have a bit of news. Unfortunately, while it’s probably not exactly what you wanted to hear, I hope you understand just how tricky some things are to manage for a small company. Bottom line is despite our initial intent to deliver a Mac/OSX version of the SlingPlayer in Q2’06, we are moving our target to Q3’06.

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