SAP Claims 200 Safe Passage Customer Migrations

The company says more than 200 companies have utilized its Safe Passage program to migrate off of rival Oracle's business applications to SAP's applications.

When one software vendor announces that it has converted users from another software vendor—proclamations common among rivals—the question inevitably comes to mind: Is that actual conversions where an IT department decides to rip and replace one system for another, or is that sales wins?

In SAP AGs case, its the former, officials said.

The company announced March 20 that more than 200 companies have utilized its Safe Passage program to migrate off of rival Oracles business applications to SAPs applications.

"These are conversions," said Bill Wohl, vice president of Communications at SAP.

"We do not use Safe Passage to describe wins over Oracle. Oracle tries to do this with their program."

The bottom line, according to Wohl: Safe Passage customers drop their Oracle applications—which could include PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards, Siebel Systems and Retek applications—and replace them with SAP applications.

"Heres an interesting fact: At the rate of approximately 200 in the 14 month period, that is about one customer every 48 hours," said Wohl.

Oracle, however, is not standing by idly. It has its own program designed to woo customers away from SAP, dubbed Off SAP, which offers up to a 100 percent credit for SAP R/3 users.

In July of last year, Oracle said that more than 230 companies had registered with the Oracle Off SAP program—many which had expressed interest in migrating.

Current numbers were not available from Oracle at press time.

The heavily incentived migration programs (SAP offers a 75 percent license credit for Oracle customers) are part of the ongoing dog fight between SAP and Oracle that began in earnest in 2004, when Oracle set out to acquire PeopleSoft and leapfrog into the number two business applications provider spot, trailing behind SAP.

After 18 months of battling everyone from PeopleSoft executives and the Department of Justice, Oracle did prevail in acquiring PeopleSoft in January 2005 and J.D. Edwards as well.

Its since acquired Siebel, Retek and about a dozen other software companies—fast closing the gap on SAP in the Enterprise Resource Planning market.

SAP, for its part, has maintained a much steadier beat, primarily growing through organic means.

There have been a couple of small acquisitions—data integration software developer Callixa late in 2005, for example—but nothing thats prompted huge market shifts.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more about Oracles acquisition of Callixa.

The reason SAPs Safe Passage program has been successful, SAP executives said, is because of the uncertainty coming out of all Oracle acquisitions (Oracle attributes SAP migrations to customers not wanting to re-license with SAP).

Foodstuffs South Island, for example, is transitioning from its financial JDE applications to SAP, while Holland Casino is migrating off its PeopleSoft applications.

SAP named a number of other companies that have jumped the ship: Altana Chemie AG, Areva T&D India, Arizona Electric Power Cooperative, AXA, Bilcare, Diesel, GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, CLLS, Riddell Bell, Rotkaeppchen GmbH, Swiss Army Brands, Thakral, Twit Wing, UniLab, Veka AG, Waste Management, Winkhaus Data GmbH, and Yakaki Europe.

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