Saturday, December 1, 2007

SAP in the Big D

I'm headed down to Dallas this week for a meet-and-greet event with the SAP CRM community. Some of our successful customers will be there, including Okidata, Moen, and the folks from Sita who are representing our Shred-It implementation of Trillium Software with SAP CRM.
However, I've been thinking about the SAP acquisition of Business Objects, strictly from the information quality tools perspective. When SAP announced that they were buying BO, the press release covered the synergies in business intelligence, yet there was barely a mention of the data quality tools.
Prior to the announcement, BO had been buying up vendors like Inxight, Fuzzy Informatik, and FirstLogic. Over its long history, FirstLogic solved their lack of global data support with an OEM partnership with Identex. So, if you wanted a global implementation from FirstLogic, they sold you both solutions. But with BO's acquisition of Fuzzy Informatik, word was that the Identex solution was beginning to lose traction. Global data could be handled by either the Identex solution or the in-house, revenue-generating Fuzzy Informatik solution. When revenue is involved, the partner usually loses.
So there are challenges, primarily the cornucopia of solutions. Strictly from a data quality solution perspective, there will be a wide assortment of customers of FirstLogic, FirstLogic/Identex, FirstLogic/Fuzzy Informatik, and Fuzzy Informatik data quality technology.
I'm not the only one thinking about this, Andy Bitterer and Ted Friedman from Gartner have been thinking about it too, but I think the situation is even more convoluted that they describe.
I have faith that SAP can address these challenges, but it's going to take a big effort to get it done. It's also going to take a decision by SAP to keep key developers and experts on-staff to fully integrate a data quality solution for the future. It's also going to take quick action to keep this technology moving forward. It may even be a couple of years to sort it all out.
Meanwhile, folks who have chosen Trillium Software as their data quality solution look pretty good right now. One platform that supports both the global aspects of data quality, and the platform aspects of data quality, by offering support for SAP CRM, ERP, and SAP NetWeaver MDM to name just a few.

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