SAP buys MaXware: Column Fodder in the Fight against Oracle

On one hand I can’t say I am that surprised. SAP has been itching to get into the IdM market. There was speculation that they were going to build their own. It is interesting to see that they have chosen, as many others have, to buy instead. I am, however, a little surprised in who SAP purchased.

MaXware was known, primarily, as one of the three major meta/virtual directory companies out there. Maybe SAP saw wisdom in Oracle buying OctetString? (I’d be feeling pretty lonely right now if I was Radiant Logic.) Maybe SAP really just needed the connectivity that MaXware could provide?

I wonder what this means for corporate SAP partners who are already in the identity management space? If I am a provisioning vendor who has spent resources developing integration to SAP and the Virsa bits, I am going to be pretty annoyed that SAP just bought a provisioning technology. Integration partner one day, direct competitor another.

The real reason SAP made this move is the continuing SAP – Oracle War. SAP needs to be able to check the boxes off in an RFP that they have provisioning and identity management services. If SAP is looking to even the playing field, there’s at least one more acquisitions they have to do. They need to buy a large services company likes of Accenture or Booz Allen Hamilton. Granted, doing that will agitate their service partners, but that being said, it would round off SAP and enable them to go toe-to-toe with Oracle.

In closing, I wanted to include a few insightful thoughts from Jackson Shaw. I just discovered his blog… good stuff. Jackson writes:

SAP AG is acquiring MaxWare because they believe that if they can control identities, security and roles from within SAP NetWeaver then they can “own” an organization. They can be the tail that wags the dog.The few systems that SAP GRC can connect today stands out like a sore thumb. Who could take them seriously? Now, with MaxWare they’ll be able to connect to many more systems but will they be taken seriously?

If IBM can’t do it with WebSphere and Tivoli, I don’t see how SAP can do it with NetWeaver.

2 thoughts on “SAP buys MaXware: Column Fodder in the Fight against Oracle”

  1. Ian – Thanks for your comment on my article regarding MaXware and SAP. Bigger companies have been trying for years to make this work. I don’t think SAP is going to be able to do a better job than anyone else. It just isn’t their primary focus and business driver…

  2. Hi Ian & Jackson,

    As Jackson will know I have been involved in the Identity Management & directories game for many years and have the added advantage that my company has been a MaXware partner for many years. In fact my association with them goes back more than 15 years before they were even in Identity Management.

    As a MaXware partner we like many were I think expecting a takeover but personally I am not surprised it was SAP as we have been finding more and more SAP customers looking for an User Provisioning and Identity Management solution but being faced with huge integration costs to integrate with IBM, CA, Oracle or Sun solutions which would then undermine the customer SAP heterogeneous environments.

    By achieving the acquisition, I think SAP has acquired a great first step because the MaXware products are superbly engineered (and to quote Jackon’s recent blog on MIIS being overcomplicated) and simple to implement.

    As a MaXware partner, I have won every proof of concept shootout with other products in recent years because of simplicity and ease of integration.

    Obviously the market will need to wait and see what the SAP plans will be. The public announcement is that SAP intends to meld the solution into their Netweaver offering.

    I believe that if SAP integrates their various IdM and Access Management solutions together quickly and adds to their portflio (because the MaXware acquisition does not in my view fill all the IAM pieces) and offers them as SAP Identity & access Management, then they could be very serious opposition to the likes of CA, Sun, IBM Tivoli & Oracle.

    In Asia/Australia where I am based, Oracle has moved very rapidly to be a huge force in IDM with big teams of dedicated specialist sales teams and IDM professional services, but the Oracle acquisitions whilst good as standalone companies do not offer an integrated offering yet to the marketplace. Oracle is therefore still not getting huge penetration in the market despite their efforts because this lack of product integration and product overlap requires a lot of Professional services to explain and integrate solutions to customers, unlike solutions like CA Identity, Sun Java Identity (viz Waveset) IBM Tivoli and indeed MaXware.

    My belief is that Oracle will get themselves sorted out by just the huge funds that they can throw at the problem and because they are a superb marketing company.

    What MaXware had, which SAP has now gained is a superbly engineered product solution.

    I hope that SAP realises what they have acquired and watch out the market if they really take on Oracle (and the others) with a dedicated team focussed on IDM

    Andrew Ferguson

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