SAP Hopes To See TomorrowNow Become YesterdayThen - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
Commentary
11/20/2007
04:45 PM
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SAP Hopes To See TomorrowNow Become YesterdayThen

So the other shoe drops. Four months after admitting one of its subsidiaries downloaded Oracle documents it didn't have legal rights to, SAP is doing everything it can to yank out and destroy that thorn in it's paw known as TomorrowNow.

So the other shoe drops. Four months after admitting one of its subsidiaries downloaded Oracle documents it didn't have legal rights to, SAP is doing everything it can to yank out and destroy that thorn in it's paw known as TomorrowNow.I'm not surprised, since back in April, just a month after Oracle filed its lawsuit against SAP claiming "corporate theft on a grand scale," SAP CEO Henning Kagermann acknowledged concerns about TomorrowNow's innocence in the matter. "We have policies in place to ensure obligations as management," Kagermann had said during an interview at the Sapphire user conference, adding that SAP was doing its own investigation. "Nevertheless, having policies is one thing, having them enforced is another thing," he said. "We have to have a complete picture."

SAP's version of a complete picture came in July, when it filed a response to Oracle's lawsuit. SAP said personnel from TomorrowNow -- a company it acquired that provides services for Oracle's JD Edwards and PeopleSoft products -- had indeed downloaded thousands of documents from Oracle's Web site on the behalf of its customers. As buyers of Oracle products, TomorrowNow customers had rights to some of those support documents, SAP said, while admitting that TomorrowNow also had downloaded some documents related to applications not licensed by those customers, for reasons unclear. But it claimed those documents stayed in TomorrowNow's separate systems and no one from SAP got access to them.

That's a different picture from Oracle's allegation that SAP employees pretended to be Oracle customers to log on to its Web site and copy proprietary technical and customer-support data so it could provide lower-cost services to those customers, with the eventual goal of luring them over to competing SAP products.

It will be interesting to see what comes out in the trial -- if the suit makes it to court before it's settled -- but I was intrigued by a news release SAP issued yesterday that is the most blatant effort at corporate hand-washing I've ever seen. We've booted TomorrowNow CEO Andrew Nelson and several top managers, it said, and, by the way, is anyone out there interested in buying the company? (Actually, the release said Nelson and his colleagues had "chosen to resign" and SAP was considering "several options" for TomorrowNow's future, including a "possible sale." But it's my blog entry and I reserve the right to read between the lines.)

SAP's press release, while not an admission of its own guilt in any way, appears to me an ongoing admission that something stank over at TomorrowNow. It's also a continuation of the claim that SAP knew nothing of what was going on, and wants to show the world it's working hard to clean up the mess. But if you believe Oracle's version of events, this would be SAP's attempt to create a scapegoat out of a subsidiary that fronted its alleged scheme to commit "corporate theft on a grand scale."

The truth still lies out there somewhere. In the meantime, based on the swiftness with which SAP is trying to distance itself from TomorrowNow, there's a good chance the subsidiary will be YesterdayThen by the time this thing goes to court.

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