SAP has made two recent additions to its Solution Extensions portfolio with deals that allow SAP to cobrand and...
resell other vendors' applications.
The SAP Solution Extensions agreements are part of the company's strategy to expand its product offerings without having to acquire other vendors or spread itself too thin. They mark a major shift from SAP's reputation as a closed, do-it-yourself company, said Tom Roberts, SAP's global vice president of global software and technology partners.
"We've created an open ecosystem, and we've encouraged companies to develop and invent with us," he said.
"Customer demand isn't going to wait" for SAP to do everything by itself, he added.
In late October, SAP announced a global reseller agreement with ClickSoftware Technologies, a Burlington, Mass.-based vendor in mobile workforce optimization. SAP will resell the ClickSoftware Service Optimization Suite as the SAP Workforce Scheduling and Optimization application by ClickSoftware.
Just last week, SAP signed a similar agreement with Open Text, a Waterloo, Ontario-based enterprise content management (ECM) software vendor. SAP will resell Open Text Vendor Invoice Management, relabeled as SAP Invoice Management by Open Text.
SAP has signed more than a dozen such agreements since late 2005, Roberts said. He contrasted the SAP Solution Extensions approach with Oracle's strategy of acquiring companies -- a strategy he said has "stifled innovation."
"SAP has taken a different approach, which is to leverage its open platform," he added.
Some SAP Solution Extensions agreements do lead to acquisitions, though. SAP acquired Versa in 2006 after reselling its governance, risk and compliance software.
SAP channel partners can resell the Solution Extensions, but the vendors and their partners continue to sell the software as well, so integration and value-added services are where SAP partners have the most opportunity, Roberts said.
"The channel partners that have been successful are generally in it for the services revenue as opposed to the software licenses," he said. "It just ends up being too long of a channel."