SAP In Acquisition Mode

David Needle

Updated · May 16, 2007

SAP announced two significant acquisitions at its SAPPHIRE ’07
international customer conference in Vienna, Austria. The one that directly
impacts the enterprise software giant’s flagship NetWeaver platform is the
purchase of MaXware, a privately-held provider of identity management
software with about 30 employees.

The other SAP purchase was Wicom Communications, also privately held.
Based in Espoo, Finland, Wicom offers an all-IP contact center and enterprise communications software. Wicom is used by 200 contact centers and by what SAP said are “contact-intensive multi-sited enterprises” in 18 countries.

Analysts consider the MaXware deal a good move by SAP  to shore up its offerings in the multi-billion dollar market
for identity management software. The segment is being driven by the need
for organizations to consolidate how they manage security across disparate
applications and systems in an enterprise.

SAP competitors such as Oracle  have made several acquisitions in the ID management space, including Oracle’s 2005
purchase of
Oblix and Thor
Technologies
, which helped round out its Identity and
Access Management Suite
.

“MaXware has useful technology that integrates information from a variety
of different sources,” David Ferris, senior analyst with Ferris Research,
told internetnews.com. “This helps SAP be a central repository for
information about users and information from other systems.”

SAP said the addition of MaXware complements its business applications
and platform, helping customers extend the value of their SAP investments.
The new MaXware capabilities in the platform are expected to provide the
functionality to centrally manage and provision identity information in SAP
and heterogeneous environments.

Also, SAP said its GRC Access
Control
can deliver business value through its rich capabilities and
support of end-to-end compliance and risk management.

In its announcement, SAP notes that improving security around information
workers involved in one or more business processes is becoming increasingly
important as companies move to the highly distributed environment of
enterprise service-oriented architecture (SOA) .

“Security ranks at the top of CIO agendas as they look to further improve
security and control access, while lowering the administrative costs
associated with managing identities,” said Klaus Kreplin, corporate officer
and member of the executive council, and head of SAP NetWeaver Technology.
“With the addition of MaXware capabilities, SAP will deliver to customers a
lean, integrated and proven identity management solution for heterogeneous
IT landscapes.”

MaXware has corporate headquarters in Trondheim, Norway, with sales
subsidiaries in the United States and United Kingdom. SAP did not release
terms of either deal other than to note the MaXware deal is expected to
close later this month and the Wicom deal was completed on May 7 with
product integration already underway.

With the addition of Wicom Communications, SAP said it will be able to
offer companies the ability to better integrate communications technologies
and business systems. The idea is to connect functions such as customer
service, marketing, finance and sales; and making sure that all
customer-facing employees wherever they are located have access to the same
relevant knowledge and data.

As more employees communicate through multiple channels; including voice,
SMS, Web, e-mail and mobile phones, it becomes challenging to synchronize
activity across these communication silos. With Wicom Communications, SAP
said it plans to deliver a multichannel all-IP, end-to-end contact center
solution, integrating communication processes into customer service.

This
solution will help customers streamline the integration of disparate
hardware and software components while allowing for central management and
reporting of dispersed resources and processes.

“Wicom firmly established itself as an innovator in improving the
performance and quality of customer service, telesales and daily business
interactions for our growing customer base,” said Ilkka Kivimaki, CEO,
Wicom, in a statement. “Joining SAP opens up our innovation to a larger set
of business and development opportunities.”

David Needle
David Needle

David Needle is an experienced technology reporter, based in Silicon Valley. He covers big data, mobile, customer experience, social media, and other topics. He was previously the news editor for Enterprise Apps Today, TabTimes editor, and West Coast bureau chief of Internet.com.