SAP on Tuesday said it planned to buy privately held OutlookSoft and integrate its planning, budgeting, and forecasting software into SAP's NetWeaver middleware platform, which is based on a service-oriented architecture. SAP says its NetWeaver Business Intelligence software is the right infrastructure for the OutlookSoft 5 application. The deal is expected to close in June.
Researcher Saugatuck Technology said in a research note there were two reasons why Oracle's acquisition of a BI vendor pushed rival SAP into buying one itself. First, Oracle's purchase put a serious strain on the close relationship SAP had with Hyperion. Secondly, there's a growing demand in the enterprise for business intelligence and performance management tools that have been integrated with business processes. SAP couldn't let its rival in the business applications market go after those potential customers alone.
Saugatuck said SAP's goal of creating a business process platform built around NetWeaver and OutlookSoft "seems exceptionally well-suited to deliver" the unification customers want. In general, the research firm sees the OutlookSoft deal as strengthening SAP, while Oracle's purchase of Hyperion was "essentially buying older technology with an established customer base and removing a competitor from the marketplace."
"SAP's acquisition of OutlookSoft is a purchase for the future," Saugatuck said. "The integration of OutlookSoft should significantly improve SAP's positioning and ability to sell enterprise-enabled" BI and business and corporate performance management.
Critical to SAP's success will be a retention strategy that ensures that OutlookSoft management and developments teams continue to contribute beyond the transition period to SAP's goals, Saugatuck said. In addition, the larger vendor must carefully manage and position OutlookSoft technology into SAP's broader portfolio, so not to stifle the smaller company's ability to innovate and respond quickly to customers' requirements.