Josh Greenbaum's assertion that SAP is upping the ante in the business intelligence stakes against its arch rival Oracle makes for good reading. In his piece Josh wonders:
How this will all end with respect to Oracle’s and SAP’s market position is anyone’s guess at this point. But I think it’s healthy to see a little balance restored in the marketplace of ideas: the onus is now on Oracle to prove that it’s gaining ground on SAP, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with. Not just because it provides fodder for this and many other blogs, but because it charges the companies’ respective customer bases with a little skepticism and some healthy doubt about how one-sided any part of the enterprise software market is at any given time.
I might have a few tentative answers. In recent months, SAP has been working hard to figure out how it can get better at marketing. One of its problems is the sprawling nature of the company with power bases in both Waldorf Germany and Palo Alto. The attendant communication problems are being tackled with a speed I don't usually associate with SAP. Overl;aps are being tackled the same day they are discovered and there is a more coordinated, slicker feel to the way SAP is going about its business.
Second, SAP is figuring out how it can use its governance, risk and compliance plus its corporate social responsibility efforts to increase its footprint in corporate headquarters. Recently, I've been tossing around a few ideas with SAP folk on these topics. In a forthcoming post, I hope to be able to say more about how SAP is working out how companies can leverage business process, combined with structured and unstructured data to provide insights into how well their GRC and CSR efforts are aligned. Given the attention being paid to issues around sustainability as they impact large enterprises, these functional areas represent happy hunting grounds for SAP. They cannot be harvested without BI tools and SAP has a solid portfolio of products and services with which to go to market.
If, as Josh suggests, SAP has been doing well in recent times, I expect it will do better in the months to come.