SAP AG will not be impacted by open source ERP software, chief executive Henning Kagermann is adamant.
Despite evidence of open source creep, Kagermann thinks it is still a database and OS-level model. He tackled the rise of open source in a recent interview with Computer Business Review.
It is an option for operating systems and databases but not at the business application level, he said. There are no open source ERP products that are any good for the high end, although it could be argued that they could be developed for the low end.
Open source has been gradually moving up from the operating system and database level into the business applications layer.
In the CRM space, SugarCRM is the most well known of the open source suppliers while Compiere is one of the better known open source ERP projects. At the other end of the scale Oracle Corp is buying into open source, albeit on the database side.
Several factors will help protect SAP’s ERP market share from open source, Kagermann said.
He believes the boredom factor will be one of them, suggesting that open source developers like to work on fun projects, adding improvements that they can boast about.
In contrast, work on SAP applications can be boring. Altering applications to cater for legal or regulatory changes such as Sarbanes-Oxley or Basel II lacks the same appeal.
I have never seen anyone who likes doing that. That is not fun, there is no choice. The boring bits are a strength of SAP’s.
Legal issues around applications could also help and prevent a situation where an old ERP application was spun out as an open source offering, as CA did with Ingress. That was a database not an application and that makes a difference, he said.