Everybody likes roadmaps. Today is old news, tell us about tomorrow and how long we’ll have to wait for it. Last month, SAP updated its product roadmaps for analytic solutions. While the roadmaps are helpful, they’re never as detailed as we like, but with good reason from SAP’s point of view. Or any vendor for that matter. Blogger John Gruber neatly summarized the vendor position in a recent post about his Vesper app for iOS (see related Daring Fireball blog, Vesper: What’s New and What’s Next).
Our policy, like that of many companies, is not to comment on future plans or work in progress. There are many good reasons that companies as big as Apple and as small as one-person shows adhere to such a policy. One reason is to keep attention focused on what is already available. Another is that keeping your mouth shut about work in progress is a way to implicitly under-promise and over-deliver. When a company says “We plan to ship X in the next three months” and it turns out to take six months, customers are naturally disappointed.
When you say what’s coming next, people naturally want to know when. And when you tell them how long you think it will take, you’re giving them a guess, but to the customer it feels like a promise. And at heart, we’re all optimists about how long our work will take. In short, talking about work in progress and future plans is often a recipe for disappointing your customers.
You can access the updated SAP BusinessObjects roadmap by visiting the SAP Service Marketplace road map landing page (S-ID required), clicking on Product and Solution Roadmaps then clicking on Analytics. With any luck, no thanks to the SAP Service Marketplace’s horrible bookmarking capabilities (which according to its roadmap will soon be updated in a sweeping redesign), you will end up on a page like this one.
I have no doubt that SAP product planners also want to know “when can we ship?”, but it’s not always easy to pinpoint when a rough prototype can blossom into a fully polished product. While the roadmaps are short on specific release dates, it’s clear that SAP analytics customers are going to see some interesting innovations and updates in 2014.
I’ll have more to say in future articles about specific items in the new roadmaps. But for now, take a moment to locate and download them yourself. Please share any questions or comments you have about the new roadmaps in the comments section below.