Ahmad Ludin

3 Comets: One Industry! SAP, Oracle, Lawson

In Uncategorized on April 6, 2010 at 5:06 AM

It has been a while since I last blogged; my blogging was out and it has returned today for better or worse! I am comparing the positions that three companies (SAP, Oracle and Lawson) are taking in respect to their product availability & development strategy for small to mid size customers.

Let’s start with SAP

SAP AG:

SAP is putting a lot of emphasis on the small to midsize market (77% of their customers are according to SAP mid size!) and giving them the option of using SAP in the cloud. It seems to be evident in the product line ups they have been working on and the partnerships they have been investing in. Here is the list of  products release or updates for the later part of 2010 and onwards into 2011:

(1) Business All in One: This product is targeted for mid size customers with relatively complex business processes. It is akin to the SAP R/3 (ERP). SAP All in One with an intuitive web 2.0 interface will get more partner hosting of its Fast track (fixed scope, fixed fee) program in 2011

(2) SAP Business By Design (ByD): This is SAP’s SaaS attempt with a few bumps along the way. Multi tenancy is one of the most important aspects of SaaS model; SAP learned this the hard way by trying the “unitenancy” model first. But ByD is now offered in both uni and the multi model with new feature pack to come in later on 2010. You can read about it here.

(3)Business One: it is SAP for small businesses; Business one recently got huge update visible in both code base and the user interface. SAP now has a single code base for all the countries. The UI is much easier on the eyes but with the same blue and gray theme of SAP. Business one can be integrated with partner SaaS applications in the back end.

Conclusion:

SAP believes the SaaS and on Demand is the next big thing and the philopophy of timeless software, they are adjusting the products and service offerings. 2011 will be the year where SAP will execute more visibly in SaaS model. The challenge is for partners who made the existing SAP SaaS compliant or somewhat as in the near future, SAP offerings will compete against the partners SaaS models.

Now to Lawson:

Lawson has publicly stated the SaaS/On Demand model is a sham and “it will die soon”. A direct quote from Lawson Website “If SaaS were truly the Next Big Thing – you’d think the market would treat SaaS companies a bit better”.

Lawson tries to convince customers and partners that SaaS model of delivery is akin to renting as opposed to owning or getting a financing option on your software. You can read about Lawson’s verdict here and here (lawson CEO’s interview)

Conclusion:

Unlike SAP, Lawson does not see SaaS and on Demand the next big thing and has no immediate plans to respond to the wall street darling SaaS model of software delivery. The Software vendor will choose the traditional approach of on premise software delivery for small to midsize companies. It will be interesting to see how long before Lawson also provides the On Demand alternatives along side.

And now to Oracle:

Oracle believes the future is the integration of the best of bread applications and the platforms that will support them. Oracle is pushing Fusion in the market as an alternative to SAP netweaver, with one difference, that best of bread applications integrator. While at the same time, Oracle is supporting individual software line ups, such as PeopleSoft. Oracle seems to believe in SaaS and On Demand but not as much as SAP and more than Lawson.

Conclusion:

Oracle has a clear vision for the future: One vendor providing platforms and Integration of different application for customers smaller to large. The question for Oracle is not how tightly integrated your system is, but what is integrated with what in seamless manner. And this is what oracle thinks the smaller to mid size market will choose Oracle for their businesses. In the future, this may prove to be a better foundation for SaaS delivery from one Vendor.  The challenge for Oracle is not the ability to acquire and stabilize different applications under the hood but to convert the best of bread apps to talk in universal standards with each other and be delivered in the cloud. It will be interesting how oracle ties Hyperion with PeopleSoft in the cloud for midsize customers!

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