SAP Watch

May 8, 2006  12:17 PM

SAP skills versus Oracle skills


Here's a preview of our podcast due out on Wednesday. David Foote, president of Foote Partners LLC explains that employers are looking beyond certifications when hiring. But when the economy heads south, hiring managers use certifications to justify their hiring. Interesting balance.

Foote also discussed the state of the SAP and Oracle job market. Applications development skills, including ABAP are growing in value, he said. SAP's Enterprise Services Architecture approach is also boosting the need for skills related to service oriented architectures and Web services. But while Oracle skills pay well, they aren’t growing in value as fast as SAP skills, Foote said.

Meanwhile, AMR Research recently released some SAP market figures, showing that "SAP skills generally will continue to be in high demand: 2005 spending data showed that 71% of companies planned to increase their ERP spending this year, with a weighted average budget increase for ERP applications of 14.6%."

View the abridged version of my interview with David Foote, here. I'll post the entire interivew in our podcast when it is available on Wednesday.
-Rob Westervelt

May 5, 2006  3:00 PM

Are IT skill certifications worth it?


I recently had an interview with David Foote, president of IT research consultancy Foote Partners LLC.

Are IT skill certifications worth it? The answer is a little complicated, but according to Foote's latest research, non-certified skills are growing more valuable than certified skills. Still, certifications could insulate IT personnel from a downturn in the economy, Foote told me in a recent interview. When budgets are tight, employers need to justify new hires and one way to justify hiring a new employee is to show some glowing certifications, Foote said.

Stay tuned for a podcast that will go live next week on this issue. Foote talks about his latest research including the hottest skills (certified and non-certified) in the market right now. It's a 30 minute interview that spans the IT job market, from application programming skills to Oracle DBAs and IBM WebSphere experts. Foote seems to have his pulse on the job market with his detailed skill and salary survey.

-Rob Westervelt

May 2, 2006  2:50 PM

Mendocino becomes Duet


SAP and Microsoft have made it official: the project codenamed Mendocino is now unveiled and will henceforth be known as Duet. It will roll out on schedule in June this year. As part of the launch, SAP and Microsoft have created a website,, and will follow up with a 13-city roadshow to spread the word about this new, jointly developed product.

In a press conference earlier today, Jeff Raikes, President of Microsoft Business Division, and Shai Agassi, SAP executive board member and president of the Product & Technology Group, ran through basic features of Duet. They also fielded questions from the press on issues like pricing, when Duet will be available on the CRM side, and what else we can expect from the SAP-Microsoft partnership in the years ahead.

"This is not the end of the relationship; it is merely the beginning," Agassi said.

Click here for the full story, which includes complete coverage of the event along with an exclusive interview with one of the Duet preview program companies. Not signed up for our Daily News? Click here to subscribe today.

Matt Danielsson

April 27, 2006  1:57 PM

Podcast: SAP user group head explains SAP successes, challenges


ASUG president Mike Perroni talks about the latest SAP technologies, why SAP customers are slow to upgrade and what to expect at this year's ASUG and Sapphire user conferences.

Perroni discusses the current makeup of ASUG, which has grown to about 45,000 individual members and 1,300 member companies. He said ASUG has worked closely to improve SAP ' account relationship model and executive exchange program. ASUG is also working with SAP to make ROI/TCO a priority, he said.

Perroni talks about why SAP customers are slow to upgrade their systems. He discusses SAP's Enterprise Services Architecture strategy, the joint SAP-Microsoft Mendocino product and whether SAP will face tough challenges as it faces Oracle and Microsoft in the midmarket. Perroni also talked about the maturity of the SAP Exchange Infrastructure, SAP Master Data Management and whether SAP's foray into the on-demand market could be successful.

Download the podcast here

April 25, 2006  1:04 PM

New IT job analysis released

David Foote of Foote Partners released its quarterly certification analysis. The latest figures reveals that pay premiums for noncertified IT skills grew three times faster than certifications in the six months ending April 1, 2006. Applications development, project management and messaging skills pay is up sharply in the past six months, according to Foote. Foote also said that more companies are keeping applications development in-house, rather than outsourcing it overseas, as has been the case in recent years. Overall, the takeaway is that certification is becomming less important in the total picture of a worker's value to a company.

You can download the complete announcement here.

-Rob Westervelt
News Editor

April 18, 2006  5:30 PM

SAP sees the midmarket glass as half full


SAP shows no signs of slowing down their drive into the midmarket, as Matt Danielsson discussed in his recent blog post, SAP turning up the heat on Oracle?. While SAP was already gaining traction in this market with their SAP All-in-One and Business One product, we should continue to hear more about these products, especially next month at Sapphire Orlando.

Dawn Kawamoto of CNet also pointed out the expected growth in SAP's midmarket revenue in SAP eyes midmarket for growth.

"Half of the German company's software revenue will come from new products by 2010, CEO Henning Kagermann said Thursday. Midmarket companies–those with fewer than 2,500 employees–will account for 40 percent to 45 percent of total software sales, he said. That compares with the current level of roughly 30 percent " (CNet

For the latest details on SAP's midmarket moves and how they are stacking up to their competitors Microsoft and Oracle, read Rob Westervelt's Q and A with Michael Sotnick, senior vice president, small and midsize business, SAP America Inc.

What do you think? Does SAP have what it takes to compete in the midmarket? If you're an IT professional for a small or midsized business, we want to hear from you.

We're also here to help. Our ERP guide for the midmarket will aid you with the decision-making process and will help you decide if SAP is the right choice for your organization. And our latest podcast, SAP implementation challenges, potential pitfalls, addresses how to overcome common challenges for an SMB's SAP implementation.

Until next time,
Assistant Editor

April 17, 2006  5:45 PM

Client acceptance: the forgotten piece of the SAP-Oracle puzzle?

ITKE ITKE Profile: ITKE reader Prafull Thakkar, HR Manager at Jet Airways in India, sent in this straggler comment on the SAP vs. Oracle debate:

"While I read the SAP vs Oracle face-off, an interesting thought came to mind. The comparison made between these two giants was obviously focusing on the technology, implementation challenges, roadmap and extensibility. However, one important point was missed and that was client acceptance. 

Obviously, there will always be resistance against changing any current system.

In many cases, once a proposal is accepted by any client, the implementation is done in haste by people who may not fully understand the client's need. The client is provided with the standard output from the system which may increase the workload for the users by using alternative software. It is also expected the users will bring out the issues / problems to the implementation consultants which typically does not happen. It is very wrong to assume that the users have understood the technical aspects of the system during the implementation phase itself. We need to understand that the end users are mostly nontechnical people. Their knowledge about the system increases over a period of time.

It is very much required to provide after-sales service to the existing clients and extend the consultation services with no extra charge as and when required by the clients. In today's competitive world, people change their employment frequently. This has a positive aspect as well as negative. People who have experienced bad services in their earlier employment, will never propose or will oppose implementing the same system.

On a side note, I think Oracle and SAP should have a customer satisfaction as well as quality survey done for each and every client where their system is implemented and check whether their business partners/franchisees have done a good job or not. There should be periodic feedback taken from the clienteles. This will certainly decide who will sustain the competition….Oracle or SAP?"

There are some interesting thoughts here. I still recoil when I hear the words "Lotus 1-2-3" … In no small part thanks to a very rushed and very botched implementation I had to endure at my first job back in the stone age. We had this elaborate sales support thing with complex macros, automatic fax capability and whatnot, but of course it wouldn't work. It took a while before we figured out that it was the software and not just us being stupid. When my boss asked the consultants to come back and make it work, she got the perky answer that no issues had been raised during the stipulated post-implementation time frame, so now she'd have to pay the exorbitant hourly rate. We ended up doing work by hand for months.

While I certainly agree on the long-term business advantage of providing good implementation support, what about Thakkar's statement that after-sales services should be extended free of charge? As a customer, I certainly wouldn't complain about having perpetual support. But as a consultant or vendor, there's a limit to the generosity. SLAs and contracts aside, what should be reasonable to expect? And for how long?

Matt Danielsson

April 17, 2006  1:10 PM

What do you want to read and talk about in this blog?


This blog is now into its second month of existence, and we'd love to hear what you think of it so far. Is it helpful? Is there something you wish we'd talk about more? Could we do something better? We're especially interested to hear what kind of topics are interesting enough to make you consider chiming in as a discussion participant.

Please either reply to this post or send an email to and let me know what you think.

And here's the kicker: one random reader will receive a free SAP book bundle, courtesy of the friendly folks at SAP Press, for the trouble. The bundle consists of:

  • SAP BW Data Modeling by Norbert Egger, et al. (click here for an excerpt)
  • SAP R/3 System Administration by Sigrid Hagemann and Liane Will
  • SAP NetWeaver Roadmap by Steffen Karch and Loren Heilig

So send me your comments between now and April 30, 2006, and don't forget to include your contact information in case you win. Good luck!

Matt Danielsson

April 13, 2006  9:57 AM

Podcast: SAP implementation challenges, potential pitfalls


James Smith, IT director of dishware and stemware maker Rosenthal USA discusses the challenges and potential pitfalls of an SAP implementation.

Download the podcast here: This week we also discuss the latest SAP news including where SAP stands in the business process management market and SAP's march down into the midmarket.

  • (1:00) SAP, Oracle playing catch-up with BPM technologies: Large software vendors are 12 to 18 months away from catching up to the established pure-play business process management vendors, according to an analyst with Gartner Inc.
  • (2:40) SAP to revamp midmarket strategy: SAP is rethinking its small and midmarket strategy in 2006, with plans to launch a new selling model for its partners, implement new pricing and focus on microvertical industries.
  • (3:25) Rosenthal IT Director James Smith: Smith discusses how a company should conduct a proper vendor selection process.
  • (5:51) Rosenthal's decision to choose SAP Business One was driven by its parent company, which has an SAP commitment.
  • (6:14) The best case scenario for software vendor selection and implementation, according to Smith.
  • (7:19) Third Wave Business Systems: Smith discusses why Rosenthal selected Third Wave, a reseller, as an implementation partner.
  • (7:39) What is it like dealing with a value added reseller (VAR)?
  • (9:44) Is it easy to identify troubled VARs?
  • (10:47) What is something you don't like about SAP Business One?
  • (11:16) Have you been through an upgrade?
  • (11:57) Business One is not built on NetWeaver. Why wasn't that a factor for Rosenthal?
  • (12:46) How do you negotiate with a VAR?
  • (13:56) Is there a problem with scope creep in small business projects?

  • April 12, 2006  1:25 PM

    SAP turning up the heat on Oracle?

    ITKE ITKE Profile: ITKE

    Is SAP planning a major offensive against archrival Oracle? It certainly seems to be the case, judging by a recent interview with SAP's Jeff Nolan. Veteran IT reporter and blogger Tom Foremski spoke to Nolan about a number of SAP-related issues, and one of the things that caught my eye was a reference to a new campaign aimed at the Redwood Shores giant.

    "Nolan's mission is to develop a strategy that will disrupt Oracle and also use blogging and the new media technologies such as wikis, in building an internal SAP blogosphere," the blog states. Foremski goes on to mention an external component to the strategy, aiming to get the SAP-centered discussion out there as broadly as possible.

    Few specifics were given about this new initiative, but with a name like "Attack Oracle" it seems like a fair bet SAP isn't planning to stand down anytime soon.

    One area to keep an eye on is the mid-market, where it seems SAP is planning a rather aggressive push in the years ahead. For starters, SAP's midmarket product All-in-One is headed for a more prominent spot in the SAP lineup. This year it will be fully service-enabled – moving onto NetWeaver across all industries – and next year it's due for getting onto the BPP (Business Process Platform). Secondly, SAP predict they'll to go from roughly 1/3 of revenue coming from the midmarket today to 40-45% in 2010. And that's a slice of a considerably larger pie; SAP expects to grow from today's 32,000 customers to 100,000 by 2010. Those customers will have to come from somewhere.

    One final observation: Kagermann spent a lot of time talking about All-in-One at the press event last week. Is he setting the stage for some kind of big announcement about All-in-One at Sapphire next month? Time will tell, but rest assured we'll watch this one closely.

    Matt Danielsson

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