The past 12 months were an eventful time for SAP, its customers and SAP professionals. From product releases and upgrades, to lawsuits, acquisitions and resignations, SAP kept industry watchers on their toes.
In Part 2 of SearchSAP.com's series on the top SAP stories of 2007, we look at the Top 5: SAP jobs, Shai Agassi's resignation, SAP's acquisition of Business Objects, the release of Business ByDesign, and the No. 1 story of 2007 -- Oracle's lawsuit against TomorrowNow. Check out Part 1 for more about SAP's tuck-in acquisitions, Duet's momentum, NetWeaver upgrades, SAP's business process management push, and the battle for the business intelligence (BI) market.
5. Evolving SAP job skills
Of all the big stories this year, perhaps none affects the day-to-day SAP user more than SAP jobs. With new products such as Business ByDesign and trends like the focus on business processes mentioned in Part 1, SAP professionals and job seekers are constantly challenged to keep their skills updated. This year, EDI (electronic data interface) and APO (advanced planner and optimizer) skills appear to be losing importance, while demand for Enterprise SOA (service-oriented architecture) and NetWeaver skills is on the upswing, according to SearchSAP.com's jobs expert Jon Reed.
More SAP jobs stories from 2007:
SAP jobs present and future podcast, with David Foote: The SAP jobs market is hot, with some SAP skills paying more than the general market. This podcast with David Foote looks at the present and future of the SAP jobs market.
On The Spot: Jon Reed on SAP jobs: SAP jobs guru Jon Reed answers 10 quick SAP jobs questions submitted by SearchSAP.com readers.
4. Shai Agassi resigns
One of the most surprising SAP stories of 2008 was Shai Agassi's sudden resignation. Long assumed to be the heir to Henning Kagermann's CEO throne, Agassi, the president of SAP's product and technology group, resigned about a month after SAP extended Kagermann's contract through 2009. Agassi was an evangelist for NetWeaver and an early proponent of Software as a service (SaaS) and service-oriented architecture (SOA). Since he stepped down, Agassi has been blogging about alternative energy.
More Shai Agassi stories from 2007:
Column: SAP's Shai Agassi is gone -- Hurray!: Shai Agassi resigned from SAP. Axel Angeli, one of SearchSAP.com's site experts, argues that the departure is good for the company.
Shai Agassi's (missing) Sapphire 2007 keynote : Shai Agassi's resignation before Sapphire had attendees wondering what he might have said if given the chance. Agassi answered with a blog post on what his keynote would have been.
3. SAP Business ByDesign, on-demand
Last year, SAP announced that it would develop an on-demand offering for the midmarket, codenamed A1S. Business ByDesign was released in September to mixed reviews, and the company now counts three products serving various small and medium-sized business (SMB) segments: Business One, aimed at companies with fewer than 100 employees; All-in-One, targeted at the upper end of the midmarket, generally companies with fewer than 2,500 employees; and Business ByDesign, for companies with between 100 and 500 employees.
While SAP's messaging is clear, there is some confusion in the market, and some SMBs are still wary of the on-demand delivery model. Some of SAP's midmarket customers also lent weight to the idea that SAP's midmarket offerings could compete with one another.
More Business ByDesign stories from 2007:
SAP Business ByDesign and the midmarket: Five questions answered: SAP's midmarket strategy, and its three products aimed at the space, has generated plenty of questions. At its Influencer Summit, SAP provided some answers.
SAP Business ByDesign product demo: Interested in SAP Business ByDesign? SAP unveiled BBD to the world with a short demo. Check out that demo here.
2. SAP buys Business Objects
Breaking the quiet of a U.S. holiday weekend, SAP announced that it would acquire Business Objects. The $6.8 billion move answered Oracle's Hyperion purchase and IBM's Cognos acquisition in the increasingly competitive business intelligence market. Initially, there were thoughts that Oracle might trump SAP's bid, but that didn't happen. At least one analyst liked Oracle's Hyperion buy better than the SAP-Business Objects marriage, anyway. The question left is how the acquisition will affect customers.
More SAP-Business Objects stories from 2007:
SAP executive explains SAP's Business Objects purchase: SAP's acquisition of Business Objects raised many questions. This Q&A with SAP corporate officer Doug Merritt provides answers to some of the most pressing ones.
1. Oracle takes TomorrowNow to court
In the No. 1 spot is undoubtedly the strangest SAP story of the year: Oracle's lawsuit against SAP's TomorrowNow division. In March, Oracle sued the third-party support provider for "corporate theft on a grand scale," alleging that "SAP gained repeated and unauthorized access, in many cases by use of pretext customer login credentials, to Oracle's proprietary, password-protected customer support Web site."
SAP downplayed Oracle's charges, eventually requesting mediation and admitting to "inappropriate downloads." But SAP insisted that any wrongdoing was limited to the TomorrowNow division. In the latest installment of this drama, many of TomorrowNow's executives resigned earlier this month and SAP indicated that the company was for sale.
What happens next? Will Las Vegas-based rival Rimini Street make a bid for the distressed company? Will the lawsuit get settled? Answers to these questions will have to wait until 2008.
More stories on the lawsuit from 2007:
Oracle vs. SAP lawsuit: Five questions answered: Get answers to some common questions about Oracle's lawsuit against SAP and its TomorrowNow third-party support division.
Oracle sues SAP: The fight gets dirty: A quiet afternoon was interrupted as news of Oracle's lawsuit against SAP hit the wires. Was this just another spotlight-grab by one of the best in the business, Larry Ellison? Or was there something to it?