The deal will allow SAP to offer Open Text’s SAP-focused ECM platform under the name SAP Extended ECM application by Open Text. The management platform, which integrates with SAP’s business processing systems, aims to bolster the content management capabilities for SAP shops and is targeted at customers looking to reduce the costs and regulatory burdens associated with unstructured data.
The agreement, which was announced at this week’s SAP TechEd 2009 conference in Phoenix, Ariz., marks the second time SAP and Open Text have teamed up in recent years. In 2007, SAP began reselling Open Text’s archiving and document access management products.
Bill Forquer, executive vice-president of global alliances for Open Text, said the deal will allow SAP customers to start developing a content management strategy as they make further investments in their overall business performance apps. Organizations facing increased regulatory pressures or looking to better prepare themselves for e-discovery will be particularly interested in the partnership, he added.
“You’re making all these investments in SAP, making investments in master data management and all those kinds of things, and now this will allow you to add your content management initiative as a part of that,” Forquer said.
Aside from giving companies the ability to join their e-discovery and compliance investments with their SAP systems, Forquer said a strong motivation behind the deal is to gain more access to SAP customers and hopefully expose those businesses to Open Text’s deep ECM portfolio.
Brian Babineau, a senior consulting analyst with Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise Strategy Group Inc., said the biggest beneficiary of the agreement will be SAP customers that want to automate their SAP business process workflow outside of their SAP environment
“Customers do not have to work with multiple vendors to obtain SAP-specific ECM functionality,” he said. “Hopefully, SAP provides customers with some unique ideas on how to leverage OpenText’s SAP-specific ECM capabilities within their environments. In my opinion, this creative thought process is where customers will get the most upside.”
As for whether SAP’s two partnerships with Open Text could eventually lead to an acquisition, Babineau said that the verdict is still out on whether SAP wants to be in the broader ECM business.
“I believe this is somewhat of a second date for SAP,” he said. “Open Text obtains go-to-market leverage and can spend its own resources focusing on other markets or trying to make SAP successful. Some second dates lead to a great relationship and eventually marriage. Others lead to the parties being friends, and there is always the possibility of the partnership being a non-starter.”
Babineau said it is still too early to tell what the outcome will be given that both of the agreements have been very narrowly focused.