Tibco/SAP Redux: Does Tibco Code Meet SAP Standards? - InformationWeek
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8/17/2009
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Bob Evans
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Tibco/SAP Redux: Does Tibco Code Meet SAP Standards?

Five years ago, Tibco touted its SAP chops thusly: "SAP customers are continuing to derive significant business value from their SAP deployments by leveraging Tibco to orchestrate business functions across their extended enterprise." Now, as merger rumors swirl, bear in mind that SAP CEO Leo Apotheker prefers internal development over acquisitions.

Five years ago, Tibco touted its SAP chops thusly: "SAP customers are continuing to derive significant business value from their SAP deployments by leveraging Tibco to orchestrate business functions across their extended enterprise." Now, as merger rumors swirl, bear in mind that SAP CEO Leo Apotheker prefers internal development over acquisitions."We focus on engineering our stuff to the best extent humanly possible," Apotheker said in a recent interview with the New York Times, which added that "Mr. Apotheker says SAP prefers to develop products in-house."

That comment came in the context of Apotheker citing SAP's 2007 acquisition of Business Objects for $6.8 billion as evidence of the company's willingness to make occasional, strategic deals. When he made those comments on August 9, there was no mention by the reporter of a possible acquisition of Tibco, a rumor that's become red-hot in the past week.

Few independent companies know SAP's software as well as Tibco does, and the excerpt above from the Tibco press release dated Sept. 28, 2004, shows how vigorously Tibco has touted its SAP expertise and its value to SAP customers over the years.

In fact, it's intriguing to see another excerpt from that same 5-year-old Tibco press release that speaks to a lot of the challenges that many CIOs and their companies are still facing today:

As organizations seek to gain operational efficiencies, improve customer loyalty, comply with regulations and expand their business, they must create a flexible, long-term technology infrastructure-a service-oriented architecture (SOA) for assembling systems and applications for maximum value. For most organizations, this means leveraging current IT systems, creating a standards-based integration platform, and integrating these systems and applications to drive higher return on investment (ROI). Beyond application connectivity, only TIBCO provides end-to-end, dynamic process orchestration, cross-functional performance management, and the platform to create an event-driven architecture to enable SAP customers to sense and respond to changing business conditions, market opportunities and competitive pressures in real-time, the 2004 Tibco press release says.

It also describes how one big SAP customer, Pirelli Tires, added Tibco's software into the mix to cut the time needed for sales forecasts from 70 days to 30 minutes, and cut inventory-management costs by 20%. And the Pirelli CEO raved about the value his company had generated by using Tibco:

"By extending the functionality and processes from our existing SAP applications, we now have visibility throughout the supply chain. We've increased productivity, reduced costs, and improved our time to market with new products," says Dario Scagliotti, CEO SSC, a Pirelli and Telecom Italia company. "By leveraging our existing technology investments, TIBCO has helped us transform our way of doing business and achieve significant results."

So looking back at least five years, it's clear that Tibco could provide SAP with some strategically powerful tools and capabilities. And there many possible reasons why the two companies have remained independent. But I can't help wondering if, in the face of such vigorous customer endorsements, a sticking point in SAP's mind is whether Tibco's products meet the quality threshholds Apotheker says SAP has set for itself: "We focus on engineering our stuff to the best extent humanly possible."

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