Categories: Founder's Blog


Sam Bayer


SAP’s ecosystem control

I would love to see that press release title in 2010.  But I won’t.

In this day and age of social marketing, Twitter, Facebook, and concepts like yelp and Angi, isn’t the SAP market mature enough to support itself by cataloging and reviewing third party offerings and service providers on their own?   I just don’t get it.  Actually, I do.  It’s about control.

This whole issue is encapsulated in the travails of Security Weaver, a governance, risk and compliance (GRC) toolkit provider to the SAP market.  They just settled a lawsuit with SAP which traces it’s roots to the “un-partner like” behavior of Security Weaver when in mid 2008 they outsold SAP’s comparable offering at Siemens…SAP’s “house account”.

A year of courtroom “he said she saids” later, all at great expense to both companies, they publicly kiss and make up and vow to live happily ever after.  I can just imagine the Rabin/Arafat like handshake at the top of the courtroom steps where according to MA magazine’s Chris Chiapinelli:

“Jens Weitzel, vice president for business development in SAP’s
Global Ecosystem & Partner Group, said in the statement that SAP is
pleased to have ended the dispute and is “look[ing] forward to working
with Security Weaver in the future.”

Chris continues on to point out the obvious:

“The two will also continue to compete in the market.”

I can just see Jon Stewart asking: “So how exactly is that going to work out?”

My question is: why should Security Weaver subject itself to the cost, aggravation and potential loss of IP to a competitor, just to get a few business leads and an endorsement from SAP?  Because after all, that’s the only reason anyone signs up for an SAP partnership.

I think it’s time to organize the vast SAP community and put the evolving social marketing tools to good use.  Let’s help one another vet out the valuable, well built and supported third party SAP applications.  Let’s post reviews on the service providers, their quality of staff and level of customer service.  Do 40,000 SAP customers really need SAP to tell them who they can and can’t buy products and services from?  (Frankly, do we even need the Analysts to tell us which company is in which quadrant and we should consider buying from?  But I won’t take on that battle in this posting :-))

Every SAP partner I know considers their enrollment in the SAP Ecosystem a tax…pure and simple…for which they get very little in return.  Why doesn’t the market, with the help of the SAP Users Group, free up those tax dollars for better use?  Instead of stuffing SAP’s coffers, ensuring job security for those running the programs, and helping SAP keep their enemies close to them, I’m 100% certain that all third party providers could find a better use for those funds.  I know I can!

To SAP’s credit, they are doing some things right.  They have published a set of guidelines for “Best-Built Applications That Integrate with SAP Business Suite.”  That’s exactly the sort of role SAP should play for the market.  Provide the technical leadership role to help the market build and support well designed applications.  Just get out of the Partner Development world.  The conflicts of interest for SAP are too great, and we’ve grown up to the point where we have the tools and incentive to become transparent on our own.

Mr. Apotheker, it’s probably time to bring down these walls!