It is not more than two or three years ago that the prevailing view within SAP was that customers should adopt a wall-to-wall SAP strategy. In the mish mash of technologies called NetWeaver there would be an answer for everything. Any application or integration need around the SAP Business Suite could be addressed with “something” from the NetWeaver mixed bag.
This viewpoint has been changing significantly over the last few years and there is now less of a push to solve every problem with an SAP product. This is particularly evident in SAP’s release of the Gateway product, which will make it much easier for developers to build front-ends to SAP using non-SAP technologies.
At the annual summit of the SAP Australian User Group (SAUG) held in Sydney this week, there was even more evidence of customers complimenting their SAP landscape with non-SAP technologies for specific purposes. In R “Ray” Wang’s event report a few points stand out:
- There is an increase in technology spending despite reductions in IT budgets. In other words, the business is buying.
- 65% of attendees are considering solutions outside the SAP sphere.
- For collaboration solutions SharePoint appear to have gained mindshare.
- CRM remains dominated by Salesforce.com and Microsoft CRM.
- Analytics discussions include many non-SAP products such as IBM Cognos, Oracle Hyperion and QlikTech.
The ironic aspect is that allowing other platforms to seamlessly integrate with the core SAP system will potentially make companies more SAP-centric from a data perspective. If organisations can deploy their own user interfaces and tools of choice, fully integrated with SAP, then there will be much less demand for buying other industry-specific solutions. I suspect this is what SAP is finally realising too.