SAP had some interesting news with the purchase of Highdeal. As usual SAP considers its moves carefully and makes wise decisions.
Let's be clear. I like SAP more than I like Oracle as a vendor of enterprise business applications. SAP's builds all of its applications from the same business process framework - and it works hard to "reform" new applications to conform. With NetWeaver, they not only strive for SOA compliance but also to making sure all business logic is built on a common "open" framework. Oracle has only really achieved the former and I think they will take years to achieve the latter - if ever.
The net result is a case of the rabbit and the hare. Oracle splurged on buying every system they could get their hands on and took their very effective sales force and began conquering the business IT world. In 5 years, Oracle will have too much code, too many customers demanding un-customizable code be customized, and asking too much money from CIO's struggling to automate anything new. SAP will have a healthy portfolio that remains customizable (my word not theirs) and CIO's in the driving seat.
I do think SAP and Highdeal presents a challenge for equipment vendors that want a "charging" neutral ERP partner. I will be interested to see how they maintain a win-win strategy.
Equipment vendors already have challenges with Oracle and Portal - with its explicit desire to enter the real time charging world. With Sun under the hood - and the fact that well known pre-paid vendors run on high grade Unix - I would guess that Oracle will go after an independent real time charger next. Now, we know Oracle likes to buy not just technology but more importantly market share.
That leaves me with two predictions:
- Oracle will buy Comverse (cash cow the old Kenan asset / integrate real time with Portal).
- SAP will get absorbed by IBM - as it seems obvious that they are strategically two peas in a pod.
This leaves a lot of open questions in the Telco world particularly for HP, Microsoft, the equipment vendors and the remaining independent ISV's. I will leave that for a later blog.