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SAP’s carpet

Today I am in Hannover, where Openbravo is participating in the largest European tradeshow, CeBIT.

The show is breathtaking for its gigantic size. There are 25 halls dedicated to IT categories such as telecommunications equipment, consumer electronics, solutions for financial services or the public administration. More than 6,000 companies are exhibiting there. The largest area is dedicated to Enterprise Software and spans across 8 halls.

SAP has deployed a flabbergasting booth (jumbo booth I should call it), which occupies almost half a pavilion. The infrastructure is a tribute to the sheer power of the company, and must have required a millionaire budget to set up. Even the carpet of the whole area has been specially manufactured to sport the SAP logo on it!

Ultimately, these marketing dollars all come from the bills paid by SAP’s customers. This brings me to the point I wanted to make in this post: Can a different business model enable a more efficient use of those resources? Proprietary licensed software benefits from large economies of scale that require tremendous marketing effort. Open Source, on the contrary, focuses on development and leaves marketing mainly to the positive word of mouth derived from a good product.

No matter how successful Openbravo becomes, I don’t think it will ever have a customized rug. On the other hand, I don’t believe Openbravo will need one to convince its customers about the quality of its product…

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