Why EMC's New Deal with SAP Won't Affect Oracle Relationship

The expansion of data storage giant EMC's alliance with enterprise applications maker SAP will not harm EMC's relationship with Oracle, although that relationship will continue to be complicated.

The fact that data storage hardware and software giant EMC on May 17 announced an expansion of its global strategic alliance with Europe's largest software maker, SAP, will have little or no effect on EMC's longtime relationship with Oracle-SAP's sworn marketplace enemy.
The EMC-SAP alliance, which now includes a reseller relationship, deeper technology integrations, and joint sales and marketing activities, is designed expressly for financial services and insurance industry customers.
Specifically, SAP now will resell EMC's Documentum enterprise content management, Captiva intelligent enterprise capture and Document Sciences customer communications management products.
For insurance customers, SAP will incorporate the above software packages into its SAP Insurance Broker Statement Processing application.
"SAP doesn't have their own content management offering," Whitney Tidmarsh, chief marketing officer of EMC Information Intelligence Group, told eWEEK. "They've traditionally partnered with other vendors in the market, especially in archiving.
"SAP was anxious to fill a gap in content management, particularly in scanning and imaging and customer communications for particular markets."
Financial services is where Oracle, the world's third-largest software producer, sells more of its own data center software than any other market. Oracle makes databases, business-process applications, and various other middleware and Java networking products.
Thanks to the acquisition of Sun Microsystems in January, Oracle also makes enterprise servers and storage arrays.
"EMC and Oracle are competitive only on hardware, and that's on the [Oracle-Sun] Exadata [server] box," Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Brian Babineau told eWEEK. "This is more business process management for SAP vertical, or industry-specific, solutions. They'll be using EMC content management solutions, ranging from Captiva to Documentum platforms, in order to bring things into SAP environments, or to manage the data once it leaves SAP environments."
The whole point is that these peripheral EMC products extend the value-add of SAP implementations, Babineau said. "It's a pure business process management [and] automation arrangement; these things still need to run on databases, and the databases are still likely to be Oracle."
Tidmarsh said due to common IT industry "coopetition," EMC's relationship with Oracle is a little complicated.

"We clearly partner with Oracle across various parts of EMC. But in our Information Intelligence division, where we're largely centered on content management as one of our key pillars, we clearly compete with Oracle," Tidmarsh said. "But this [the SAP extension] is in no way a strike against Oracle. We will continue to partner with them in the applications and database arena. Oracle remains a top-choice database for our Documentum customers, even. SQL Server as well."
Products and services from the EMC-SAP agreement extension are expected to be made available in the third quarter of 2010, the company said. Additional offerings for the banking industry will be available immediately thereafter.
The announcement was made at Sapphire Now, an event being held simultaneously in Frankfurt, Germany and Orlando, Fla., through May 19.
SAP, with 47,500 employees and $11.7 billion in revenue in 2009, is Europe's largest IT software company and the fourth-largest in the world, behind Microsoft, IBM and Oracle, according to Software Top 100. EMC is listed as the world's 12th-largest software maker.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...