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SAP broadens 'safe passage' for retailers

SAP is broadening its Safe Passage program, extending incentives to retail customers running Retek software. Oracle Corp. is melding newly acquired Retek into its business suite.

SAP is extending its Safe Passage program to retailers running Retek software, in an effort to lure them away from Oracle Corp., which recently acquired Retek after a spat with SAP for the vendor.

SAP is making it as attractive as possible for companies to migrate to them while Oracle is in the midst of integrating all the technologies it has acquired.
Melinda-Carol Ballou,
principal analystBallou IT Strategies

The Safe Passage program provides software, support and incentives to migrate to SAP. The company announced its plans at the Retail Systems 2005 Conference & Exposition being held this week in Chicago.

The announcement comes on the heels of SAP's Sapphire user conference in which the software vendor announced Home Depot would implement the entire SAP Business Suite. Home Depot is currently an SAP Financials customer.

The program includes a credit of up to 75% of the original Retek software license fees against the licensing of software within the SAP for Retail industry package, which includes supply chain management, customer relationship management, product lifecycle management and supplier relationship management software.

SAP is offering an on-site assessment to build a business case to migrate from Retek to SAP and an implementation road map to begin a migration project. It is also adding free project team training under the program.

SAP's Safe Passage program was launched in January for PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards customers.

Similar incentives are being offered to customers who choose to migrate to SAP's mySAP ERP software suite. In addition, SAP is charging those customers a maintenance fee of 17% of the original purchase price of their PeopleSoft and JDE software licenses. SAP is using its newly acquired subsidiary, TomorrowNow Inc., to provide maintenance and consulting services for enterprises choosing the migration program.

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The program was also extended to Europe.

In its recent quarterly report to financial analysts and investors, SAP said a handful of customers have signed on to migrate to its business software. SAP executives wouldn't release any definitive numbers, but analysts have said they didn't expect any immediate surge in migrations through the program.

"They got a very significant commitment from Home Depot and it makes sense for them to continue to push after Oracle's Retek acquisition," said Melinda-Carol Ballou, principal analyst at Bedford, Mass.-based Ballou IT Strategies. "SAP is making it as attractive as possible for companies to migrate to them while Oracle is in the midst of integrating all the technologies it has acquired."

Minneapolis-based Retek had about 200 customers before it was acquired by Oracle. Its 2004 annual revenue was $174.2 million. The company's 525 employees are based in offices in Atlanta, London and Melbourne, Australia.

Oracle is developing a "super set" of applications, combining features from the PeopleSoft and JDE software, through its Fusion Project, announced in January by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. Ellison said he has thousands of developers building the new application suite, aimed at taking market share from SAP.

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