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ERPs in the long run

Hey Gurus,

Can anyone of you please enlighten me on the comaprison of Oracle and SAP in terms of their functionalities, strategies etc. Just wanted to check this to have a view point for product evaluation.

I have some ideas about SAP but none for Oracle.



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    author's profile photo Former Member
    Former Member
    Posted on Jan 19, 2009 at 07:22 AM


    The race between oracle and SAP can be summarised as the race between Netweaver and Fusion and ultimately the winner will be survival of the fittest.

    And, based on what I know about the two companies' strategies, given such an outcome, NetWeaver would be the winner, hands down.

    The advantage for NetWeaver to win out is based on no small amount of digging into the two companies' plans. SAP has been plugging away at its NetWeaver strategy for several years now, while Oracle recently started works on these strategies.

    Better roadmap

    The first is that I believe SAP has done a better job of both articulating its roadmap for NetWeaver and delivering on it. To be fair, that is in part because they have been at it longer than Oracle. Remember, Fusion is barely a year old, whereas NetWeaver has been bandied about as a concept for almost three years. But I also believe that SAP's advantage in building out its own applications u2013 as opposed Oracle's strategy of acquiring or partnering to build its applications portfolio u2013 has allowed the market to see more clearly where SAP is going and what functionality will be available once the full force of NetWeaver's service architecture can be brought to bear on the market. Oracle's Fusion Middleware strategy is relatively well thought-out and well-defined, but the roadmap for Fusion Applications still has a lot of blank space in it u2013 placeholders for as-yet unannounced acquisitions and partnerships.

    Vertical functionality

    This brings the second point- Vertical industry-specific functionality is where the rubber hits the road as the future of enterprise applications unfolds. Indeed, all that trouble to build and implement service architectures like NetWeaver and Fusion would largely be for naught if all they did was enable more monolithic, general-purpose enterprise software. The real value-add for service architectures comes from their ability to take individual services and build them, Lego-like, into applications that are essentially mass-customized for individual business in individual industries.

    This means that, in addition to a strong services infrastructure, a vendor needs a large portfolio of services to assemble u2013 the more the merrier. This is where SAP's next advantage comes into play. SAP's has experience in 28 verticals, and the software functionality to prove it. As NetWeaver unfolds, one of SAP's tasks will be to service-orient all that functionality and make it available as building blocks for the future. That's a non-trivial task, but one that, once done, provides SAP customers with an exceptionally large palette of vertical industry functionality on which to build their service-oriented future.

    Oracle, on the other hand, has always lagged in providing deep vertical functionality, a fact acknowledged by the vertical focus of their acquisition and partnering strategy. While there is some deep vertical functionality now in the Fusion playbook u2013 Retek in retail was a major coup, and Siebel can provide some CRM-specific vertical functionality in the industries that it targeted u2013 the scope of this functionality still lags behind that of SAP. And while Oracle is now vowing to fill in the blanks with more partner products, until we can evaluate exactly what those products can do and how many vertical industries they allow Oracle to compete in, SAP still has the vertical industry advantage.

    The Fusion timeline

    Finally Oracle has very ambitious timeline for its Fusion Applications. Oracle argues that they are "halfway to Fusion", largely on the strength of their work on Fusion Middleware. But halfway to Fusion Applications u2013 particular a suite of highly verticalized service-oriented applications based on least six different code bases (if you count the pieces of software that make up its Oracle, PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards, Siebel, Retek, and ProfitLogic product lines) u2013the scope of that task becomes very difficult. Bear in mind, Fusion Applications are slated to come out after Oracle releases updates to its eBusiness Suite, PeopleSoft, and J.D. Edwards lines. That is, to use a technical term, a boatload of application development work.

    Sure Oracle is big, sure they're full of some of the smartest minds in the industryu2026 but history tells us that that huge software projects at a minimum tend to miss their deadlines, if not fail hugely. And while Oracle will definitlely not fail u2013 Fusion Applications will take more time.

    Again, to be fair, SAP also has a monumental development task u2013 but it's from a single code-base of software that the company has spent 20-plus years developing. NetWeaver's timetable benefits greatly from its status as a next-generation project based on internally developed software, and not on a massive blending and rewriting of a half-dozen different applications and code-bases.

    In the end, software evolution plays by different rules than biological evolution, and Fusion's prospects could change quickly in the next year or so. But, as things stand today, Fusion looks like a candidate for endangered species protection, even before it actually enters the race for survival. If biology defines software destiny, Fusion's destiny looks perilous at best.

    Hope this gives u some idea.



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