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SAP draws fire from noisy neighbour IFS over HANA

SAP draws fire from noisy neighbour IFS over HANA

'We can beat SAP in a straight fight for business' says IFS

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Smaller SAP ERP competitor IFS has belittled the giant's attempts to re-invent itself by winning slices of other markets, like in-memory database processing and mobile device management.

Both IFS and SAP are currently holding user conferences in Barcelona and IFS has already slammed any suggestions that its less feature-rich ERP suite - when compared to the number of modules SAP can offer - puts it at any major disadvantage against its bigger rival in the markets it competes in.

These include defence and aerospace, supply chain, manufacturing, oil production and energy generation.

ComputerworldUK interviewed IFS CEO Alastair Sorbie at the conference, and he was full of praise for the company's two big partners - Microsoft and Oracle - despite competing with them in a number of markets at the same time.

But there is no love lost for SAP and he was keen to put the boot in at the German company's efforts to spread its product set.

Sorbie said: "We can beat them in a straight fight for business, just like we did for the Sun International [which owns the Sun City resort and hotels] deal we signed in South Africa this month, and they've had to reduce license fees at the lower end of the market in the SaaS space as it wasn't working for them.

"I really can't see where SAP can expand quick enough to make up the revenues it needs. Sales for SAP Afaria mobile device management aren't going to make up for lost ERP business, and Oracle will soon cancel out anything SAP can get out of HANA."

Sorbie maintained that Oracle's own data processing improvements and its fully fledged entry into the in-memory database market next year would hit SAP hard.

ComputerworldUK reported this week that SAP is calling on its partners and channel eco-system to help it fulfil its ambitions of becoming "the number two database company in the world by 2015", with ambitions for "high-double digit growth" in the EMEA region.

Chano Fernandez, SAP's head of innovation sales in EMEA, banged the drum during the opening keynote at the company's Database & Technology Partner Summit in Barcelona.

That call however was preceded by more scoffing last month by Oracle itself. Oracle co-president Mark Hurd claimed that what Oracle would be offering next year would knock SAP out of the water. "I don't think HANA is even comparable", he said. "Forget them," he added.

That attack drew return fire from Vishal Sikka, who heads up all development at SAP, who maintained that what Oracle was planning also didn't come up to the mark either.

"Well, they are right that it is not comparable to HANA. Plus, it hasn't actually been released yet, so please come back and talk to us when it is available," he told ComputerworldUK.

Despite big data, data processing and business intelligence being key themes at the IFS event, Sorbie said most IFS customers weren't troubled by big data needs.

He said: "Most of our customers aren't Googles, insurance companies or utilities with thousands upon thousands of customers that generate loads of data. They're companies like Babcock International, who have a small number of customers, like the Royal Navy."

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