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Speaking Out: SAP's Henning Kagermann


Are corporate buyers skeptical about tech these days?

It depends on the companies -- whether they were oversold. We had a more conservative approach about the Internet. We never told the clients they had to rip out the old stuff. We did not close $100 million deals on what is now shelfware. Some corporations aren't happy with other tech companies. To some extent, these companies have spoiled the market.

How do you overcome this?

There is less confidence, less trust. It's very important for us to behave like a mature industry. So far, we have not. It was not "client first," it was "us first." We have to improve customer relations, make the business case, and not promise anymore that we have the Holy Grail. It's hard work. It's rebuilding the relationship. It's what we do.

Are you adapting your software for new technologies, such as radio-equipped tags for inventory?

People are just starting to work with it. We're codeveloping with Procter & Gamble. Ultimately, probably in a year, we'll sell it as a packaged application.


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