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Friday, March 5, 2004

SAP comes out fighting

NetWeaver 2004 will go head-to-head WebSphere and BizTalk, according to a CNET story, SAP plan could spawn software battle.

CNET journalists know a good story when they hear one, even if it's been spun by the vendor, which is clearly the case in this instance. The notion that NetWeaver can compete like-for-like with BizTalk and WebSphere is really rather far-fetched. Is anyone going to buy an SAP product to ease integration between their Peoplesoft and Siebel implementations? I don't think so. Being tied in to two enterprise software vendors is bad enough without adding a third to the mix. At least if you use Microsoft or IBM products you already have some of their software in your infrastructure to start with.

But never mind whether the story stands up to scrutiny. SAP's Shai Agassi has tipped a wink to CNET that NetWeaver "is disruptive to the integration platforms," and they've wheeled out sector analyst Joshua Greenbaum to provide independent confirmation of this "absolutely fundamental battle ... to define and deliver the next level of innovation." No need to dig any deeper when you already have two legs to stand a story on.

In fact, the only people who are going to contemplate using NetWeaver to ease their integration woes are customers who are already heavily committed to SAP, as Loosely Coupled explained when we tackled this topic last year in our article, Business users challenge vendor ties. I'm sure Shai Agassi knows that very well, but it does no harm to let his customers believe that to commit to NetWeaver is to follow a wider industry trend.

To my mind, the most illuminating information contained in the CNET article is tucked away three paragraphs from the end, when we learn that "SAP's No. 1 priority this year is to sign up new NetWeaver customers that it can use as references to spawn more sales, Agassi said." In other words, he hasn't even got any reference customers for NetWeaver yet. Are IBM and Microsoft quaking in their boots? Probably not just yet.

posted by Phil Wainewright 8:44 PM (GMT) | comments | link

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