SAP, a maker of enterprise applications, is now focusing on
attaining leadership in the database market. In fact, it has the
fastest growing market share in databases. But what chance does SAP
have in surpassing database giants like Oracle, IBM and Microsoft?
The short answer: Innovation, stellar products like HANA, Sybase
IQ, and Sybase ASE, and its 170,000 base of application customers.
Incidentally, Sybase (now a SAP company) has a long innings in
India with a strong ISV community that SAP will leverage. In other
words, it is the applications that will get SAP to the number two
position that it is eyeing.
Steve Lucas, Global Executive Vice President and General
Manager, Database & Technology, SAP, unveiled the
company’s strategy to become the fastest growing database
vendor at the SAP Forum Mumbai. The strategy, based on HANA, SAP's
real-time data platform offering, will help businesses become more
agile while helping to lower operating costs substantially. With
SAP HANA and its integration with comprehensive database solutions
from Sybase, SAP has now launched a new breed of data management
offering with in-memory acceleration at its core to help customers
simplify their data management landscape and improve insights into
"Applications will drive the database. We are going to put our
database products in our applications. We will remain (vendor)
agnostic, but there's no reason why we can't ship our database
product with our applications. There's no reason why we can't
create features that are unique to our database product, with our
applications. And there's no reason why we can't create competitive
pricing for our own databases and applications. We can do all this
and still remain (vendor) agnostic," said Lucas.
SAP has 190,000 customers worldwide, of which 170,000 use its
enterprise applications for HR, CRM, SCM etc. So even if 25 percent
of this base were to use a SAP database product, that would get SAP
closer to the top position.
Peter Gartenberg, MD, SAP India informed us that in Q1, SAP had
20 new customers in India running SAP applications on its Sybase
ASE (Adaptive Server Enterprise) database. Companies like
Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution (MSED) and the
Nagpur-based Abhijeet Power Limited (APL) have replaced existing
Oracle database solutions with SAP. These customers were sold on
SAP innovation to accelerate business performance, gain real-time
insights and acquire the ability to process and analyze information
"We are going to be number two in India as soon as 2013," said
an optimistic Gartenberg.
To woo customers, SAP is providing tools to accelerate data
migration from other databases to its own database platform. SAP
has set up a Euro 250 mn fund to help customers migrate. Another
strategy to woo customers is credits for consulting services. SAP
is offering customers 30 percent of the license cost on its
database products, and will credit this back to the customer for
SAP is also banking on its ecosystem of ISVs. In addition, it
has a large base of Sybase customers, a prominent one being the
Indian Railways. SAP will work with these customers "to scale them
Maneesh Sharma, Head-Database & Technology, SAP India, said,
"We have been working with many ISVs in India to get them to use
our database. We have also set up the USD 155 mn SAP Ventures Fund
for partners and ISVs to create applications on our
SAP and its ecosystem of partners are also coming together to
build a real-time data platform for next-generation customer
applications. In India, SAP has recently collaborated with C-Square
Info Solutions to co-innovate the pharmaceutical industry’s
first enterprise process application for the entire supply chain.
This application is planned to run on SAP Sybase SQL Anywhere with
zero downtime and be easy to support.
And how does SAP plan to take on Oracle, which has a strong base
of Indian customers?
"We believe that companies like Oracle are not providing the
kind of innovation that our customers need. There are three
categories of customers: those that run Oracle end-to-end, and it
is going to be tough to get them. Then there are customers who have
a modest amount of Oracle and other databases -- these are all
customers that run some product from SAP. And then there are
customers that do not have Oracle. We are building value
propositions that address each of those categories. Companies that
run Oracle can also invest in HANA. You can replicate the data
real-time from Oracle to HANA. Half of the HANA customers have an
ERP system running on Oracle and a BW system running on HANA," said
an emphatic Lucas.
Oracle: How do you plan to counter SAP's moves?