SAP buys Concur and Oracle gets new CEOs – My 2 cents


Just as soon as I came back from lunch , I heard about both news items from SAP and Oracle . Here are my views – strictly personal opinions as always , and has nothing to do with present or past employers .

SAP buying Concur is a pretty good move in my opinion. As a frequent business traveler , the standard SAP solutions are not exactly the ones I think of as my “painkillers” . Concur fits the bill and I know there are millions like me who need their services . What is more – it is a growing business with plenty of scope for innovation given the options to travel are increasing .

For SAP – with Ariba already providing a pretty big network , this is a neat deal to add to their breadth and depth . Success factors fits in too pretty well from HR synergy . And of course there is the core FI and budgeting apps which their instal base already has in plenty . So from a portfolio synergy – it makes perfect sense to me .

I really hope that this does not start another “let’s replatform to Hana” initiative . I am sure hana fits some parts of concur really well – like maybe getting amazing insights across expenses and other corporate data like HR , risk and so on . But a blanket replatforming – especially from a transaction processing point of view , doesn’t look like high value for me .

After reading Den Howlett’s blog on the recent influencer meeting – there was only one question I asked . Was there any mention of M&A ? He said there wasn’t . And I was wondering how SAP plans to get all that top line money organically . Well today answers that question for the most part 🙂 Buying for top line improvement is something IBM, Oracle etc have done before too – so nothing new in that respect . Oracle market cap probably increased about $50B via acquisitions in last 5 years or so I think .

So now my big question is what companies will SAP acquire to bolster the platform side. ? Business Objects is good – but tired . Lumira did not exactly give tableau a run for its money . So maybe SAP can buy a modern company to boost the BI business – like Tableau or Alteryx . It probably won’t be cheap – but probably a good idea to retain BI market leadership .

Or maybe TIBCO – and have a shot at both EAI and BI in one go .

Another option might be to buy into the lower end of the stack like redhat . That could open all kinds of doors for SAP on platform side . In fact – I would rate such a purchase as way more strategic than even tableau.

No idea if any of these vendors – maybe except TIBCO – wants to be sold . And if they did – SAP will probably need $10B+ to buy a couple of them .

In any case – big congrats to Bill McDermott and SAP !

Moving on to Oracle . I am not sure what exactly changed there . Everyone seems to have moved one level up the ladder and Larry retains control of all technology aspects . And while he remains active – it is hard to imagine Oracle having two other CEOs .

There was a rumor throughout that Larry might become Chairman and buy Salesforce.com and make Benioff the Oracle CEO . Clearly that did not happen . But it is not to say that can’t happen in future . The two new CEOs (best of luck and congrats to both) both deserved the job for sure . So the possibility that they move to the board in a couple of years and Benioff getting the CEO job long term is a possibility . We will see I guess 🙂

I think it makes sense for Oracle to make a big noise to divert attention from a rather lackluster financial quarter . Beyond that , I don’t see anything material about the CEO transition .