SAP Watch


March 14, 2006  6:25 PM

SAP vs. Oracle: Round two

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We recently asked two prominent experts to argue their respective cases for SAP vs. Oracle. These follow-up columns are their official rebuttals each other's positions.

Greenbaum readily concedes that Oracle's eBusiness Suite performs well, installs relatively easily, and has good middleware and analytics built into the product. But the main issue, he points out, is what the future has in store for the ERP market, and that's where SAP has the upper hand. Furthermore, he dismisses deHenry's historical "misconceptions" about SAP implementation challenges as outdated and flat-out untrue in many cases. Besides, who in the ERP space can claim a 100% success rate across the board? All things considered, he concludes, it's a much better bet to go with SAP's thought-out NetWeaver strategy than jump on Oracle's half-baked Fusion bandwagon and hope for the best.

deHenry, on the other hand, points to adaptability as a key feature of ERP winners — and that's where Oracle shines, she says. If Netweaver is such a wonderful technological innovation, she asks, why isn't the adoption rate higher? In contrast, many of Oracle's Applications customers (the company claimed over 26,000 in September 2005) are already using Fusion technology. In fact, deHenry argues, you can see the difference in the corporate DNA right away — SAP is "seen by many" as an "innovative-free" company, she claims, while Oracle appears to value adaptability to economic and market forces.

Who's right? You be the judge! Click here to read SAP vs. Oracle: Round two, then click here to submit your comments, opinions or anecdotes on the SAP vs. Oracle battle. One random contributor from SearchSAP.com and one random contributor from SearchOracle.com will receive a $100 Amazon.com gift certificate!

Matt Danielsson
Editor

March 13, 2006  2:41 PM

SAP lashes out at research firm on ad claim study

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SAP is lashing out at Wellesley Mass.-based Nucleus Research Inc., calling a report that is said to debunk a high profile SAP advertising campaign, “shoddy research.”

Nucleus Research released a research note last week that found that, contrary to SAP’s advertising claim that its customers are 32% more profitable than their peers, SAP customers were in fact 20% less profitable than their peers. SAP customers had an average return on equity (ROE) of 12.6% versus an industry average of 15.7%, according to Nucleus’ note.

Ian Campbell, Nucleus’ president and CEO, said the four page research note was the result of an analysis of 81 public companies that use SAP software and were listed on SAP’s Web site. In an interview with SearchSAP.com, Campbell called the research the “most exhaustive look at SAP public companies to date.”

“Ours is the best and most public report,” Campbell said. “We don’t’ draw any correlation between SAP and profitability and doing so is a foolish thing. SAP made that correlation in their advertising.”

The complete story will be posted shortly at SearchSAP.com.

-Rob Westervelt
News Editor


March 10, 2006  5:17 PM

Mendocino update

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The joint SAP-Microsoft project codenamed Mendocino is beginning to assume a more solid shape by the week. When we first wrote about Mendocino last year, a lot of the details were fuzzy. Here’s an update on how things played out, where the product stands today and what we can expect in the future.

Mendocino 1.0 brings the promise of seamless integration between Microsoft’s ubiquitous Outlook client and a handful of equally ubiquitous SAP processes. These processes are: time management, leave management, organization management, and cost control management/budgeting.

“That’s four out of some 70 processes,” said Kevin Fliess, SAP’s vice president of product marketing for emerging solutions, at a recent interview at SAP Labs in Palo Alto, Calif. “We have a lot of room for broadening the scope of Mendocino, and we’re currently looking at options for doing so in version 2.0.”

According to Fliess, some of the options currently on table include: 

  • Smart Tags. These show up as regular links in, say a contract written in Word, but instead of merely pointing to a URL you can actually access and edit relevant customer data in the SAP system.
  • More robust XML.
  • Enhanced employee self-service functionality.

Basically, whenever there’s a lot of routing and approvals between departments and managers, that’s where the strength of Mendocino 2.0 comes into play.

On the Microsoft side, Office 12 is on the horizon, which will further enable and enhance Mendocino’s capacity. Microsoft is switching gears to make XML the core file format of Office 12, opening the doors to better information exchange with other applications like mySAP.

“We’ve made tremendous investments in server-side technology, not just desktop tools,” said Chris Caren, general manager of Office business applications. “Office 12 will cover features like BI, content management and collaboration. One of the goals of the Mendocino roadmap is to take advantage of these server-side technologies.”

For example, the new Excel 12 is positioned as a robust BI tool. Mendocino 2.0 aims to take full advantage of that by allowing users to do rich analysis using SAP data, formatting and sharing it without ever leaving the Office interface.

Before leaving the issue of Office 12, it should be noted that it won’t become generally available until the second half of 2006, meaning Mendocino 1.0 will beat it to market by a couple months. No worries, says Caren, Mendocino 1.0 will work with Office 2003 and they’re planning to release a service pack to bridge the gap.

Moving back to Mendocino 2.0, Caren said they are basing a lot of the product on customer feedback. Two areas that are getting particular attention:

  1. Adding additional scenarios to target the same Mendocino users who find 1.0 appealing. These additions will be in the world of Employee Self Services and Manager Self Services, primarily in areas that touch a lot of employees. Caren emphasized that nothing is definite at this point, but examples of such ESS features may include purchase order routing, contract management, requisition management and travel management. For management functions, there may be an expansion on Mendocino 1.0’s bridging of IT and HR functions in areas such as employee record keeping and the ability to include things like performance reviews and goal/bonus structure information.
  2. Providing strong development tools, whether customers want to extend or improve a pre-made scenario or develop a brand new process and add it to the Office/SAP ecosystem. For example, a bank user needs to create something for fraud monitoring. That user can then create a mySAP-based tool from scratch using the Office interface and have it snap in right along the pre-made functions.

As before, Microsoft and SAP are co-developing the next version of Mendocino, Fliess said. “Mendocino uses XML-based middleware to pull together the two companies' products into a unified interface.”

It will feature the same joint support structure and it will continue to be sold separately from the mySAP Business Suite, Fliess said. The price of Mendocino 1.0 remains a mystery despite the closing GA date, meaning we probably shouldn’t hold our breath waiting to find out the price of 2.0.

Matt Danielsson
Editor


March 10, 2006  12:48 PM

Debating SAP and Oracle

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Earlier this week, Shehryar Khan of Abacus Consulting shared a valuable resource in his blog on SAP's Developer Network (SDN). He pointed out that people across the IT landscape are comparing SAP and Oracle applications.

Think of the project manager stuck in the evaluation stages of an ERP decision-making project, who sees SAP's benefits but has trouble articulating them. Think of the SAP sales person who may be asked to evaluate SAP's benefits in light of Oracle's weaknesses. Then think of the IT decision-maker, who must share these ideas with the business side, revealing a new batch of challenges.

There is hope for IT professionals in these scenarios. Khan sings the praises of SearchSAP.com's new face-off feature: SAP vs. Oracle, where industry experts Joshua Greenbaum and Faun deHenry debate the benefits of the two ERP giants.

Make up your own mind — read the SAP vs. Oracle face-off here on SearchSAP.com to see what you think. Don't miss the follow-up article with a boatloat of reader comments. Then check out all of the insightful comments from Shehryar and other SAP professionals on SDN. Can you guess what side the SDN readers are on?

Until next time,
Lauren
Assistant Editor


March 9, 2006  5:04 PM

SAP extends adaptive computing to Microsoft platforms

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SAP is opening its architecture to enable customers to extend adaptive computing capabilities to all Microsoft environments. Several architectural changes were made to the Adaptive Computing Controller (ACC), a group of virtualization tools available in NetWeaver.

The ACC can be used to dynamically shift hardware resources for applications based on need. Computing power for an application system can be changed in minutes using the ACC. For more information, check out the full story at SearchSAP.com. 

Through a spokesperson, SAP said the change will not put the ACC in direct competition to similar tools offered by Hewitt Packard. But an HP spokesperson said that the two technologies now overlap. HP launched its Adaptive Enterprise initiative with support for SAP users on HP-UX and Linux in 2003. Last year, HP launched Virtualized Infrastructure Solutions (VIS) for the mySAP Business Suite, building in support for users of Microsoft Windows-based systems.
-Rob Westervelt,
News Editor


March 9, 2006  5:00 PM

Sun gets NetWeaver certification

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Sun Microsystems Inc. received certification for its Sun Java System Identity Manager version 5.5 for the SAP NetWeaver platform. The identity manager is part of the Solaris Enterprise System. It can be downloaded  to try for free. Sun says the user provisioning and meta-directory software increases enterprise security. The software manages identity profiles and permissions. The announcement was made today at the the CeBIT conference in Hannover, Germany.
-Rob Westervelt
News Editor


March 9, 2006  3:58 PM

Making SAP training fun

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You may not have time for a vacation, but that's no excuse for making every work day a monotonous chore. Today, take a few minutes out of your busy schedule for a fun yet educational quiz. Check out SAP Basis troubleshooting in the field, a brand new test from site expert Giovanni Davila. Giovanni's first quiz, A 360 in SAP Basis, was such a success that we are rolling out new quizzes every month this year.

Think about what other kinds of quizzes you'd like to see on SearchSAP.com. These tests take just a few minutes, yet provide you with valuable feedback on your SAP progress. Send me an e-mail to let me know what you'd like to be tested on next.

Until next time,
Lauren
Assistant Editor


March 9, 2006  3:31 PM

Congrats to Stan Shuralyov

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SearchSAP.com reader Stan Shuralyov had a short but sweet submission for our winter tip contest. His tip, "Fast deletion of SAP tables" is exactly what it sounds like — a brief code snippet that can eliminate millions of records in seconds. The code works on SAP 4.6C, WAS 6.20 and WAS 6.40 systems (i.e., all currently suppported SAP platforms). We picked it because of a combination of positive user feedback, high peer ratings, and plain popularity on the site.

Having said that, we got some strong runner-ups. To give them all some time in the limelight, we rounded up the winner along with the 10 best runner-ups in this week's Featured Topic. Do you agree with the choice we made? Think you can offer up something even better? Then submit your best stuff to us and get a chance to win another 60 Gb video iPod!

Regards,
Matt Danielsson
Editor


February 9, 2006  3:52 PM

Welcome to the new SearchSAP.com editorial blog!

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What is the purpose of a blog? In many cases, it provides an outlet for regular Joes to vent, be creative, socialize and anything else you can think of. In other cases, it may be a technology evangelist pushing a specific pet cause. Linux  users comes to mind. Yet others use blogs as a complement to regular news reporting, enabling news writers and editors to add commentary and personal opinions about various issues that would not be appropriate to include in a regular news story. That's the approach we'll be taking in this blog.

It can be an issue of adding that nice anecdote a conference delegate told you, or perhaps one of us want to give a first-person account after having test-driven the latest SAP product demo. Sometimes we may have a new idea that we'll invite you to comment on. Other times we'll put the spotlight on another SAP blogger if they have some particularly interesting insights about something. Occasionally we may even shamelessly try to drum up some buzz around a new Learning Guide or IT checklist. But hey, at least we're honest about it, and everything will be SAP-related — no ramblings about which movie deserves the Oscar for Best Picture* or whether Duke Nukem Forever will be released this year**.

Of course, we always appreciate feedback. Feel free to reply to any and all posts you see on this blog, or submit a comment through the main SearchSAP.com website.

* Alone in the Dark
** Don't hold your breath


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