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The Boring Enterprise Nerdletter #21: Futurism, EDI/API, Industry Cloud, Developer Accounting, SAP Community AI, Midjourney

Jelena and Paul
Jelena and Paul
Hi there,
We used the DALL-E AI art utility to create the cover picture of this issue. Someday, perhaps even very soon, it’ll be possible to generate the stories that we cook up for each issue as well. But our commitment is firm: each issue will only be filled with shade-grown, cruelty-free, bird-friendly, organic, low-sodium, dentist-approved thoughts and opinions from us.
We promise to only mention this occasionally: if you’re sick of having too much money, you can now show some love to our writers with a coffee. We don’t do the newsletter to make money, but sometimes we stay up late to get it done - so caffeine is deeply appreciated!
-Jelena and Paul

Futurism @SAP
Follow this map to take a rocket to space!
Follow this map to take a rocket to space!
“SAP” and “future” are concepts that rarely connect in my head. That’s not meant to be a hater comment - just that the sci-fi fanboy part of my brain thinks of the future as the place where we travel to the stars, not where we match invoices 14% better. SAP does actually employ futurists, though. This blog caught my eye and got me thinking. It’s a profile of Upen Barve, who along with Martin Wezowski is co-founder of The Future Hub at SAP. 
“We spearhead & shape SAP’s long-term innovation vision, produce and supervise future concepts, create Macro POV’s and build concept cases and concept-prototypes to make the vision tangible. We inspire & strategize with our ecosystem to investigate possible futures, and validate with tangible PoCs.” 
Upen Barve on Future Hub:
It takes a bit for the interview to get going. Lots of high-sounding phrases that - while I’m sure have lots of meaning to the futurist crew - don’t take shape for me as a reader until he goes into detail on a few AI outputs and predictions:
  • Barve’s four pillars of human ingenuity and machine intelligence coming together: individual augmentation, enterprise decision augmentation, autonomous operations, autonomous networks
  • Points to a forecast saying between 2042 and 2045 that machines and humans will be at equal capability. Calls it “inevitable”. 
  • Will AI be able to learn emotions? He says gut feelings will continue to distinguish humans from machines. 
I suggest going out to Barve’s LinkedIn profile and looking at some of the videos to get further details. While the future is necessarily murky, futurists and fusionists alike should work to be clear in their communication. PM
Just like Godzilla vs King Kong, EDI vs API battle is only imaginary
Just like Godzilla vs King Kong, EDI vs API battle is only imaginary
In a recent LinkedIn post, SAP integration expert Michal Krawczyk inquired what do others think about an EDI myth “APIs are better suited than EDI for small to medium enterprises”. As an IDoc book author, of course I have an opinion to share.
This is not really about the enterprise size. “EDI vs API” is not even apples vs oranges, it’s more like HTTP vs bananas. While both apples and oranges are fruit, EDI and API are different species.
EDI is a standard format for business information exchange. It signifies agreement between everyone involved that specific data would have specific format, place, and meaning. One might say that API kind of does the same thing (it tells you what data in what format it needs). But API is not a standard per se, while EDI has specific global standards. Also, API is more about the means of information exchange, it’s about functionality itself.
You can even use APIs, if you wish, to implement an interface based on an EDI standard (heck, you can even blend IDocs and APIs). So “EDI vs API” is just not the thing for any enterprise size. Myth busted! JP
Cloudy Days For Industry, But In A Good Way
Sometimes I wish I'd shut up about the cloud already
Sometimes I wish I'd shut up about the cloud already
I feel like every other issue I’m throwing something out from Bob Evans. Apologies, Bob - maybe if you didn’t write such interesting stuff I wouldn’t regurgitate and link to it so often. I’ve written about industry cloud before, but this time Evans takes us to it through the lens of some of the older enterprise players: Oracle, SAP, and IBM. 
With Oracle, Evans calls out a recent huge acquisition, industry-specific apps for more than a decade, and positioning industry as central to Oracle’s business. I’ll add that Oracle’s impressive catalog is what sticks out in my head as its strength. SAP gets kudos for half a century of industry insights and RISE being a success (I wish I knew more details on that). From my view, SAP should by all rights have the largest store of industry brainpower. IBM gets praise for unifying its consulting with its product, and I just gotta agree with that. Is there any other player that can match firepower with boots on the ground at that scale? 
I don’t even know if it’s possible to be too optimistic about cloud. From infrastructure to platform and software, it’s just gonna keep steamrolling through and changing the equation on everything. Until the next thing. PM
Accounting for Developers
If you don't get the joke, you definitely need to read this!
If you don't get the joke, you definitely need to read this!
Enterprise software development is not just about algorithms and programming languages. It’s also about business processes. And for every enterprise, this means accounting. 
It’s always weird hearing the accountants talk. “Clearly, this chargeback goes to a revenue recognition account. - Indeed. But we need to offset tax liability for asset depreciation. - Quite!” I imagine that’s also how accountants feel when developers are discussing OData filters.
One does not need to go back to college though to learn just enough about accounting to understand that the dialog above is pure nonsense. Recent article Accounting for Developers explains accounting basics very clearly and is reasonably short for the volume of information it covers. I highly recommend it to all the SAP developers in particular. (As we know, all roads in SAP lead to FI.)
And for those partial to YT 10-minute video format (no judgment!), there is an excellent video Accounting Basics Explained Through a Story and more on Leila Gharani’s channel. JP
SAP Community Meets AI
Elevate User Experiences with AI-Powered Personalized Recommendation Service | SAP Community Call
Elevate User Experiences with AI-Powered Personalized Recommendation Service | SAP Community Call
No, this is not about a bot that prevents the monthly “extract Excel from ABAP” blog posts and redirects to ABAP2XLSX instead, sorry!
We’ve written about the SAP Community calls before (e.g. Event Mesh and SAP CAP). These are usually covering cutting-edgy subjects with less marketing speak and are very helpful. But lately I’ve not heard of any calls and was wondering what’s up.
Turns out that instead of visiting the SAP Community page, now we need to sign up for the upcoming calls on YouTube channel. Community calls are listed as ‘Upcoming live streams’ (look for the pink-orange background). The upcoming call on August 31st will be about AI-Powered Personalized Recommendation Service, which sounds pretty cool.
Continuing AI theme, there are also 2-minute videos about different SAP AI offerings. I find the Document Information Extraction service particularly interesting and recommend exploring it at your leisure. JP
Still More AI Art
You guys. I am so sorry. I know I write about this stuff all the time. I JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH. NLP. GPT-3. DALL-E 2. GPT-3 again. DeepMind. Nobody is ready for how deeply AI tools are going to penetrate into artists’ creative processes.
Check out this showcase of results from a tool (available for public use) released by Midjourney, a research lab focused on “expanding the imaginative powers of the human species”.
This image was created from nothing but the text “bronze statue of henry cavill, photography, beautiful, HDR, 8K, 80mm lens”. LOOK AT THAT. Is that the same thing as a human creating a wholly original work of art by hand? No. But often I don’t want to make the picture - I want to use the picture to illustrate something. And in that case, simple text prompts that generate amazing images that match the concepts in the text are absolutely good enough for me. PM
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Jelena and Paul
Jelena and Paul @BoringNerds

We're the enterprise nerds. Staying on top of software news helps us in our jobs - so we'd like to help you, too. Every other week we lovingly curate 6 stories and bring you The Boring Enterprise Nerdletter.

-Jelena and Paul

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