One could look at SAP and OpenText and see a collision course about to happen. OpenText, with GXS, is expanding an applications and network business largely built on/off of production and direct materials connectivity, expanding far outside of the world of EDI where it started. And SAP, with the Ariba Network, is building an all-encompassing vision that, at some point, will incorporate a broader set of direct materials collaboration and connectivity capabilities. Put simply: the network, application, and infrastructure vision for both firms are converging.
Yet OpenText and SAP, still appear to be the best of friends. At OpenText’s analyst day, Patricia Nagle (VP Global Strategic Alliance Ecosystem at OpenText) and Tom Roberts (Global Vice President, Third Party Software & Technology Solutions at SAP Ecosystems) took the stage together. Nagle described SAP as the “most strategic partner of OpenText” and noted that OpenText has 14 solutions sold within the SAP ecosystem.
Further, OpenText has “acquired 4,500 customers and 15 million users from partnership,” according to Nagle. According to Roberts’ LinkedIn profile, “During the last six years this portfolio of solutions [Solution Extension Program] has delivered $1.5 billion in license revenue to SAP's top line while simultaneously bringing key competitive differentiation to SAP's offerings,” of which OpenText is a significant part.
As an example of the partnership, Nagle and Roberts cited collaboration in the invoice management area. Today, in certain accounts and at SAP, “the reconciliation engine for all invoices on the SAP side is Vendor Invoice Management by OpenText … SAP is running core transactions with invoicing and OpenText is feeding it and on-ramping it onto Ariba.” Nagle also referenced Exxon’s presentation from Sapphire, which noted that they reconcile millions of inv(toices through the combination of Ariba/SAP and OpenText solutions.
All of this sounds good on paper. And true, the two providers have a long history together going back to 1992. For example, OpenText and SAP collaborated on their initial document archiving effort as far back as 2005. And in 2008/2009, SAP extended Enterprise Content Management (ECM) in tandem with OpenText. The same time frame saw collaboration on SAP Digital Asset Management and SAP Travel Receipts Management. And today, OpenText and SAP are collectively offering archiving for HANA in the SAP Enterprise Cloud as well.
It’s a great story. But when bears dance for the same mate, one usually comes out on top. Or, in an unlikely scenario, all join forces and increase their territory. We’re talking to Nagle and Roberts later today and look forward to digging into the current and planned collaborations further. This is a curious dance and one in which we plan explore in depth. Clearly both providers have way too much at stake not to move extremely carefully.