Beware of the truth if your surname ends with ‘a(t)tner’

14 04 2008

Hasso Plattner (co-founder of SAP) was in a debate on the future of enterprise software with Marc Benioff (CEO of Salesforce.com) in Silicon Valley a couple of weeks ago. I know a head-to-head on ‘hosted versus on-premise CRM software’ is a bit too techie for most of you but there was one comment from SAP’s elder statesman that had me shaking my head in disbelief.

In an attempt to show the younger and more ‘street’ Benioff that SAP’s technology had been improved, Plattner apparently admitted that “We [SAP] had a shitty CRM system”, which is why Salesforce.com had won a contract with DuPont.

As admirable as this is to be ‘honest’ about previous flaws, I’m left wondering how I would feel if I was the CEO or CIO or a large enterprise that had bought one of those ‘shitty CRM systems’ because they certainly sold a few. I reckon I’d be a bit narked and would be wanting to be compensated in some way…

And this all reminded me of one Gerald Ratner, whose comments about “crappy products” in his store sent his business down the toilet.

Gerald Ratner - Institute of Directors, April 23rd 1991

I’m quite sure that SAP will not go the same way (they do have some good systems) but I bet the PR team at the company’s corporate headquarters in Waldorf skipped a collective heartbeat when they saw the transcript from Herr Plattner’s debate with Benioff.

Maybe there’s something in the name that makes all members of the extended …at(t)ners family suddenly be very, very honest even if it doesn’t do great things for your image or reputation?

I reckon Hasso and Gerald should have followed the example set by one Captain James T Kirk (William [Sh]ATNER) who said: But if you want to know the truth, the weirdest thing that has happened has been my discovery that people who attend the conventions are filled with love.”

Disclaimer: I should point put that I am currently part-time Director of Corporate Communications for Oracle in the UK but any views about SAP and Hasso Plattner are entirely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my client…  or some other kind of legal speak that would be appropriate…

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14 04 2008
News » Blog Archive » Beware of the truth if your surname ends with ‘a(t)tner’

[…] Anorak News | Anorak News wrote an interesting post today on Beware of the truth if your surname ends with âa(t)tnerâHere’s a quick excerptHasso Plattner (co-founder of SAP) was in a debate on the future of enterprise software with Marc Benioff (CEO of Salesforce.com) in Silicon Valley a… […]

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