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Global CIO: 20 SAP Add-Ons That CIOs Will Love

This list can help increase the value of your SAP environments, courtesy of analyst Ray Wang.

Bob Evans

January 6, 2010

4 Min Read

CIOs looking for third-party products that simplify and enhance SAP's complex applications and tools will be happy to see software-industry analyst Ray Wang's list of 20 SAP-anxiety-reducing products that optimize everything from virtualization to Microsoft Office integration to data management, license management, application extension and usability, and more.

The SAP partner/developer ecosystem comprises a market valued at almost $79 billion and populated by about 850,000 professionals, says Wang, who's a partner with analyst firm Altimeter Group, and as the pace of business accelerates in everything from new-product development to customer engagements to internal decision-making, these third-party products can help SAP customers accelerate the time to value from their SAP systems.

For SAP, this far-flung community of developers, partners, enhancers, optimizers, and simplifiers is critical as the company itself wrestles with the need to blend the software-engineering rigor that's been its hallmark with a more customer-focused and market-oriented outlook that requires exceptional speed, nimbleness, and flexibility.

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For CIOs, 2010 is a year in which their very profession will be redefined permanently from one of internally oriented focus on processes and systems to one of urgent emphasis on helping drive new revenue, engage more intimately with customers, and simplify every aspect of their IT operations.

To help CIOs achieve just that, Wang has stratified the 20 members of his "SAP Optimization List" into seven categories predicated on his premise that "2010 App Strategies Should Start With Business Value". Here are the seven categories and the vendors/products he's singled out for each—check out Ray's excellent analysis for the specific value he sees in each of these vendors' approaches: 1) Application Extension and Usability: "Users often complain about the poor usability of SAP solutions. These solutions allow users to change their user experience with SAP," Wang says. "In some cases, the solutions provide composite app creation capabilities in other tool sets to inter-operate with SAP." On the SAP Optimization List: Adobe, ERP-Link, and GuiXT.

2) Application Life-Cycle Management: "Whether it may be instance consolidation, upgrades, test data management, or performance planning, these vendors ease the process of managing the SAP application life cycle." On the list: Hayes Technology, Hyperformix, Intellicorp, Panaya, Tidal Software, and West Trax.

3) Archiving, Storage, and Data Management: On the list: EMC and IBM Optim

4) License Management and Optimization: "Solutions in this category focus on helping clients manage their license usage. Many large enterprises lack the understanding of how much shelfware may be in production," Wang says. "In addition, the used software market provides users with opportunities to unload or acquire older releases of software." On the list: Flexera, SUSEN Software, and UsedSoft.

5) Microsoft Office Integration: "Organizations require easy ways to leverage Microsoft Office as an interface into SAP. Common scenarios include Outlook, Excel, Access, and Word integration." On the list: SAP Duet, Winshuttle.

6) Third-Party Maintenance: "Customers seeking relief from maintenance choose solutions that provide maintenance, tax updates, and regulatory changes for often half the cost of existing SAP maintenance prices. The clear leader in the market is Rimini Street though some other system integrators have been quietly providing such services." On the list: Rimini Street and "your system integrator of choice."

7) Virtualization: On the list: EMC and VMware.

The significance of Ray's list—and to an even greater extent the vast and global third-party SAP ecosystem—lies in the new need for CIOs and their organizations to be able to quickly and effectively wring every dollar's worth of value out of existing systems, applications, and infrastructure. As those customers look to combine that rigorous efficiency with an increasingly external focus on customers and prospects, there is simply no way that SAP or any other big software vendor will be able to move rapidly enough and broadly enough to satisfy the rapidly expanding need for all those extenders and accelerators and balancers and managers.

So we'll see the big software companies like SAP, Oracle and Microsoft expanding their engagement with high-quality partners/developers, in much the same way that we've seen SAP and IBM work more closely together, and Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft collaborate, and Oracle and Dell.

As this trend continues, be sure to check in with Ray for updates to the list (he promises deeper profiles of these 20 SAP Optimizers over the next several months) via this link from above or at A Software Insider's Point Of View.

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2010

About the Author(s)

Bob Evans

Contributor

Bob Evans is senior VP, communications, for Oracle Corp. He is a former InformationWeek editor.

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