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.