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May 24, 2005

ERP meets open source

SAP wants to be everywhere now. Having hit the limits of the enterprise spending on ERP solutions and realized that the LOBs are not putting multi-million dollars on their business suite anymore. They are now going for a strategy which rides on top of the developers.

Pitch goes like this - we are already system of records for most of the data, we already have core APIs to fetch that data, we link those APIs in key business processes and rules - so why not write new apps using our platform ! On the surface this all makes sense, but the big question remains will developers take this bait ! SAP is big but it's not IBM or Microsoft, atleast in the developers world.

Second strategy for Agassi is to see if this can fly on top of the open source wave.  Open source is a twin edge sword.  If more business processes go into the open source fold, you end up seeding the next generation open source business app. Who knows what future holds in terms of architecture and customer fad - so lets work the conservative route and go slow in selling to the slashdot addicts.

This same post mentions  Dave Duffield's new venture - Dave's Next Move.  I am biased towards innovation and optimism so I welcome this move, but I have one question here. This list of challenges were there when Dave was running  Peoplesoft -


Enterprise apps

  • Are too expensive to deploy and maintain.
  • Are complicated and difficult to use.
  • Were built for the back office and largely ignore the informational needs of the line manager.

My crib is that these same managers don't fix the problem when they are captain of the ship. Once booted they suddenly find the vision and next generation blue print ! Could this be true for lot of current CEOs of the public companies. Meaning they are selling inefficient vision to their customers because they are locked up in the cost-containment and this-quarter's-number obsessions ?

I hope Dave really puts open source philosophy behind this revolutionary product he is developing. Only then an enterprise solution can be revolutionary in the current context.

May 24, 2005 in Open source | Permalink


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Oh no doubt about it - SAP will be a dominant force for many years to come. We will have to wait for the complete XML'ization of MS Officec and complete webservice conversion of SAP stack to raise this question again.

Posted by: Brij | Jun 4, 2005 9:33:11 PM

brij, I have to agree with you. ERP spending has already hit the ceil and there is not much room left (with oracle closing in fast ) How do you see the trend going ? Will SAP survive ?

Posted by: Navin | Jun 4, 2005 1:50:01 AM

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