Forrester: Uncertain future for SAP's NetWeaver

An analyst says SAP will likely rely on partners for middleware than attempt to compete with Oracle and IBM

SAP customers shouldn't rely on the vendor's NetWeaver technology stack for all of their middleware needs in the future, according to Forrester Research.

"The fact is for the last several years SAP has been falling behind in creating a comprehensive platform and maintaining [it]. This has caused a lot of heartburn among clients," said Forrester analyst John Rymer during a teleconference Monday.

SAP used to have a desire to compete head-on in middleware with rivals Oracle and IBM, but not anymore, Rymer added.

While there's a chance SAP will try to "resuscitate" NetWeaver development in an effort to catch up to those rivals, "the likelihood of this happening is very low," Rymer added.

It's more the case that SAP will follow one of two scenarios, he said. The first would see it align itself strategically with a Java-centric middleware partner, such as IBM, as well as with Microsoft and its .NET technology. There's little chance the Java partner would be SAP's longtime nemesis Oracle, he added.

But SAP will most likely "adopt a vendor-agnostic stance in Java," continue working with Microsoft, and also embrace open-source middleware options, according to Rymer.

SAP customers should still use NetWeaver to extend their SAP business applications, but avoid using it for complex, enterprisewide middleware projects, he added. "We think you ought to look at other providers," Rymer said. "We don't think SAP is going to step up to those requirements over the long haul."

But SAP, in fact, has full confidence in NetWeaver and big plans for it, spokeswoman Shabana Khan said via e-mail.

NetWeaver is "the foundational technology to our solutions," she said. "And as the foundation for orchestration in three areas: 1. lifecycle management, 2. master data management, 3. business process management. These are the markets we will go after as standalone but also in support of SAP applications."

"NetWeaver is our platform and will be our platform going forward -- and there is an incredible amount of innovation we intend to continue to bring into it," she added.

SAP plans to provide additional detail on its plans for NetWeaver at its Sapphire conference in May, according to Khan.

Meanwhile, SAP is attempting to win with projects like 12Sprints, a group collaboration and problem-solving tool that lets users pull in data from a wide range of systems and sources. "This sort of software, this set of ideas, is wide open," Rymer said. "Oracle and IBM aren't yet dominant in this category."

Monday's event was one in a series Forrester is holding this week for clients following a tumultuous period at SAP marked by customer discontent over support costs, flagging software sales and a rash of high-level executive changes, including the recent appointment of co-CEOs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe.

SAP is regrouping as the weeks tick down to Sapphire, and final preparations are made for the long-awaited broader rollout of Business ByDesign, its SaaS (software-as-a-service) product for the midmarket.

The company is trying to innovate through means such as agile software development practices, embracing in-memory computing and building out a range of SaaS extensions to its on-premises ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications.

SAP is also trying to build stronger connections between its software modules, as part of a "long-term focus on end-to-end processes," said Forrester analyst Roy Wildeman, who also participated in the teleconference.

Tighter integration will provide SAP with cross-selling opportunities, but also presents an emerging challenge for customers, Wildeman said. "What it means for folks is that code is going to get even harder to customize. As software becomes more integrated, charting all the dependencies ... can be a project every time a system change is required."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags SOASAPForrester Researchmiddlewarenetweaver

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?