Software // Information Management
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5/15/2007
09:29 AM
Doug Henschen
Doug Henschen
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Was Outlooksoft the Best Choice for SAP?

Saugatuck Technology really went out on a limb last week characterizing SAP's planned purchase of Outlooksoft as a reaction to Oracle's recent acquisition of Hyperion. What's next, a stunning revelation that Microsoft is using its BI strategy to help drive sales of Office 2007? The deal is certainly a positive move for SAP, but I don't know that I'd use the word "significant" to describe the boost it will give the ERP vendor.

Saugatuck Technology really went out on a limb last week characterizing SAP's planned purchase of Outlooksoft as a reaction to Oracle's recent acquisition of Hyperion. What's next, a stunning revelation that Microsoft is using enterprise software strategies, including its BI strategy, to help drive sales of Office 2007 and Windows Vista?

Saugatuck's sense that "the integration of OutlookSoft should significantly improve SAP's positioning and ability to sell enterprise-enabled BI and performance management" is far less obvious to me. I mean, it's certainly positive and Outlooksoft is an innovative and fast-growing company, but I don't know that I'd use the word "significant" to describe the boost it will give SAP."Outlooksoft is an interesting product to choose considering that it doesn't have any SAP certification and that the majority of the Outlooksoft customer base is not an SAP install base," observes Cognos executive Harriet Fryman. Okay, maybe that's sour grapes from a competitor, but Outlooksoft confirms that only 25 percent of its "hundreds of customers" run SAP. That's a pretty stark contrast with the 40 percent of Hyperion's 10,000 customers said to be SAP shops. An Outlooksoft spokesperson tried to spin this saying, "the remaining 75 percent of OutlookSoft's customers present up-sell opportunities for SAP," but I can't see the performance management tail wagging the enterprise applications dog.

Jorgen Heizenberg, principal technology officer in the BI domain at CapGemini Netherlands, reacted to the SAP-Outlooksoft news saying, "I would have though Outlooksoft would have gone to Microsoft because their software is based on Microsoft technology." Indeed, while while Hyperion was "Certified for NetWeaver" back in 2005, SAP will now have to scramble to build similar hooks into Outlooksoft applications.

On the positive side, there are those 25 percent of Outlooksoft customers that also run SAP, such as Lionsgate Films, and these veterans can offer their insight and experience on getting the two application environments to work together. But the way things have played out over the last few months, it's clear to me that the early movers gain the best advantage by not only setting the trend but also by picking the best acquisition targets to fit the new strategy. Outlooksoft wasn't the best choice for SAP, but it was the best option still available.Saugatuck Technology really went out on a limb last week characterizing SAP's planned purchase of Outlooksoft as a reaction to Oracle's recent acquisition of Hyperion. What's next, a stunning revelation that Microsoft is using its BI strategy to help drive sales of Office 2007? The deal is certainly a positive move for SAP, but I don't know that I'd use the word "significant" to describe the boost it will give the ERP vendor.

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