"As a global strategic partner to both SAP and Microsoft, Capgemini is uniquely positioned to add client value through integration," Picard said.
Called "ERP +," the program is intended to help customers have greater access to SAP data from desktops as well as mobile devices; automate the unstructured business processes that Microsoft's products handle; and, perhaps of particular relevance during these times of heightened focus on holding down internal IT expenses, "reduce IT costs through reuse of existing Microsoft software licenses and reduced training costs."
The initiative makes sense on a number of fronts as it opens the door for Microsoft and SAP to not only deliver on this current promise but also explore additional ways they can work together to deliver to enterprise customers the types of process enhancement, cost reduction, and innovation that neither company could deliver individually.
If it is true that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, then the two companies' shared antipathy for Oracle gives them lots of motivation to push on their new alliance that allows each to gain advantages against Oracle that it would not otherwise have.
The essential ingredient in the mix is Capgemini, which has a long history with both SAP and Microsoft as well as a strong reputation among enterprise customers as a trusted and impartial partner. The SAP/Microsoft Center of Excellence will be critical to making this more than just a superficial handshake deal, and Capgemini is further committing itself on this alliance in the following ways:
--training 1,000 Capgemini architects on SAP/Microsoft interoperability;
--hosting customer workshops to demonstrate the new capabilities that this integration can unlock;
--developing a suite of industry-specific "accelerators" for the Microsoft SharePoint and Windows Mobile platforms.
In addition, Capgemini and Microsoft said they would collaborate on a range of marketing and asset-development programs for the ERP+ customers.
Even setting aside for a moment the competitive advantage they hope to gain against Oracle, Microsoft and SAP are wise to make this move at this time because their customers are under enormous pressure to find new and better ways to exploit their IT investments, and this three-way effort with Capgemini will be seen as not only a technology solution but also as an attempt to help create more business value.
And for CIOs today, that promise trumps everything else.