SAP Watch

Jul 1 2009   8:13PM GMT

As Oracle advances Fusion middleware, what’s SAP’s next move?

CourtneyBjorlin Courtney Bjorlin Profile: CourtneyBjorlin

SAP will stick to software,” was the headline from SAP CEO Leo Apotheker’s interview in the Wall Street Journal last week.

I don’t think anybody’s really speculated that SAP will do anything but stick to selling software. It seems unlikely that they’d target this “one stop-shopping” approach Oracle is pushing (Sun acquisition) when the partnership approach SAP’s taken to infrastructure has worked so well over the last few years.

However, SAP’s also been very open in the past year that in terms of selling software, it knows it can no longer develop everything organically that it needs to stay competitive.

In that light, it leaked a couple of weeks ago that SAP was looking at a big purchase — even somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.1 billion.

There’s lots of speculation on who it may be, or whether there’s really any truth to the rumor at all. But there have been rumors swirling around SAP possibly acquiring Tibco or Software AG.

Are these rumors given more credence with Oracle’s announcement of the new version of its Fusion middleware today? My colleague Ed Scannell, who covers Oracle, wrote that the new middleware will, “take better advantage of cloud computing, SOA, service-oriented security and collaboration.” The suite allows each module to share a wider set of common services and functions with all the others.

“Customers … told us they need broader but integrated solutions instead of piecing together a lot of individual moving parts themselves,” said Hasan Rizvi, senior vice president, Oracle Fusion Middleware Products.

To give you some sense of how impressed analysts are with the product, Forrester’s middleware guru John Rymer told InfoWorld that Oracle was “stepping out of IBM’s shadow” in terms of middleware.

In our recent reader’s survey, more than 200 SAP professionals who participated cited integration as a major challenge.

Apotheker told the Wall Street Journal there was one difference between him and his predecessor, Henning Kagermann.

“Henning has an infinite amount of patience,” he said. “I do not.”

Perhaps it’s this disposition that will drive SAP to make its next big acquisition a middleware booster?

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