Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Is the tail wagging the dog or did I just realize I'm a tail?

SAP acquires MaXware. What does it mean? SAP wants the company. The MaXware guys have been around for a long time, have a good set of products and a customer base - albeit a small one for being around so long (300 customers according to the press release).

What is SAP going to do with MaXware? Well, we don't know. Those plans are being worked on according to the press release. Here are some nuggets I pulled from the press release...

SAP AG today announced that it is extending the identity management capabilities in the SAP NetWeaver® platform

    Message: NetWeaver is the future. Move to NetWeaver. Guess if that will cost you any money.

The addition of new identity management capabilities in SAP NetWeaver will deliver an integrated platform to work across systems and across business processes, to manage identities and ensure security in real-time

    Message: All your bases are belong to us. You thought identity management, platform integration and security were the pervue of IT?! Wake up and smell the kaffee we're brewing over here at SAP AG.

By combining MaXware’s proven, flexible and easy-to-configure identity management solution with SAP’s industry-leading business applications and SOA-based platform, SAP can offer an identity management solution that increases flexibility and agility of business units when managing employee identities and when managing identities across company boundaries with customers, distributors or suppliers.

    Message: That is, of course, if all those customers, distributors and suppliers are all sipping SAP AG's kaffee. If they're not, I guess you'll be on your own.

The addition of MaXware complements SAP’s business applications and platform and will enable customers to extend the value of their SAP investments. While the new MaXware capabilities in the platform will provide the functionality to centrally manage and provision identity information in SAP and heterogeneous environments, SAP GRC Access Control can deliver business value to the customer through its rich capabilities and content to support end-to-end compliance and risk management.

    Message: Ah, now we get to it. Take a look at SAP's GRC Access Control white paper and you'll see that they basically can manage and connect to: Oracle, SAP (duh), JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, Hyperion, "Legacy" and "Custom". I think that SAP AG's proposition of "managing identities across company boundaries with customers, distributors or suppliers" may fall flat on its face. Anyone out there have Active Directory, AS/400, mainframe, Unix, Linux, Siebel, SalesForce.com, Novell eDirectory or...?

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?

I think SAP AG should stick to what they can do well and I don't think it's going to be this. Don't get me wrong - I'm happy that MaxWare has been acquired and I am happy to see a new injection of excitement into identity management, roles, security and compliance since this serves to float everyone's boat higher. But, if SAP AG's vision is to own this problem space soup-to-nuts I think they'd better wake up and smell what the Rock is cookin'...

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1 comment:

Ian said...

Good insight. SAP may be the Rodney Dangerfield of identity management looking for respect. I wonder if MaXware is just column fodder for SAP in its fight with Oracle.