Oracle, SAP, salesforce.com, NetSuite thoughts
I have been in a rut, a good rut but still.
I have been paying a lot of attention to salesforce.com recently mostly because of Dreamforce and all the partners asking for a few minutes to pitch me their ideas. It’s all good, but…there has to be other stuff going on. Of course there is.
Oracle Open World will happen soon and we’ll be able to see what they’ve been up to in the labs. They’ve been pretty dark since the Siebel/Peoplesoft acquisitions and it’s time for them to bring forth some new integrated wonderfulness. Can’t wait for that one.
SAP introduced Business By Design (BBD) which I have previously commented on a little. Let me say here that it isn’t out till 2008 but that it will be fun to take a look at. At first blush it appears to be something that the installed base will like but that may not compete favorably with the likes of NetSuite or salesforce.com. SAP has time and money to make improvements but markets don’t wait around. NetSuite will have cash from its IPO — are we there yet? — soon and then the fight will heat up. Also, all those salesforce.com partners will have something to say about front and back office integration and applications that span the two.
Speaking of which we need a word for the applications that span front and back office but all the good terms seem to be taken by boneheaded marketing from a while ago. For example, hybrid would be a really good term but it was used to describe an on-demand to conventional architecture that should never have seen the light of day. What to do? Seems like the situation is tailor made for GRC but governance, risk and compliance seems kind of heavy for describing simple, necessary front to back hook-ups.
Let’s give GRC its due though; it is the next new thing.
Back to NetSuite, a last thought, isn’t it amazing how they continue to carve out their niche? You keep waiting for them to go head-to-head with someone like salesforce.com but it doesn’t really happen. They’ve just introduced more vertical applications in the services and wholesale/distribution sectors and if anything they compete more with SAP than salesforce.com (as they should). But NetSuite is a native mid-market player and in a close game right now you still have to pick them over SAP and the points (recall SAP’s BBD isn’t out till sometime next year).
NetSuite, more than most other vendors, needs to start thinking about GRC issues (assuming they haven’t already). Specifically, GRC is a big enterprise idea right now but it will need to be brought down to size for the SMB and mid-market and that’s NetSuite’s sweet spot.