I just got off the phone with Niel, CEO of Newmerix and the famous blogger who drinks with Kagermann. His blog has gone a little thin of late, but that is because he has been busy doing some Larrying. (a new verb, meaning to acquire a software company)
We had a chat about the growing market for tools that help run applications on a day to day basis, not the fancy stuff that will give you competitive advantage to infinity and beyond, and nothing to do with social networks in the enterprise. (more on that another day) Newmerix is very successful as a Peoplesoft application change control management company, they have recently accquired some software (object manager) to help do the same in the SAP space. They already have some strong customers, like BMW America.
As customers build more composite applications with Netweaver, they will need tools to monitor changes and assess upgrade impacts. This is where Niel’s lot come in. SAP has its own tools for doing some of what Newmerix does, but I think there is a big enough of a white spot for them to do well, especially in shops that run a mixed bag of applications. Niel has picked up a tremedous amount of SAP savvy in short period of time.
We talked a bit about the SAP world, and how it differs from the PeopleSoft world. I think he was suprised when I mentioned how big the German SAP market is, until not so long ago, it was bigger than the US market, and there are 1000’s of installations here. Not just in manufacturing, but in every sector. SAP is taught in the German universities and colleges alongside other programming languages and business studies. This makes SAP skills common here. It also makes it tough for big consulting firms. The German market tends to rely on small specialist teams or individual gurus, rather than vast swathes of system integrators. It also means that there are less Peoplesoft customers in Germany than there are readers of this blog.
In house IT shops also develop strong SAP competence, rather than relying on lots of external support. Recently quite a few of the big german companies have spun these strong IT departments off into seperate businesses. It will be interesting to see how they do. (Triton, the ex Hoechst IT department was recently acquired by HP) BASF IT are a major player in HR IT services, offering hosted (sorry SaaS) HR services to local governments and midsized companies….I digress.
Selling into this market is also different from the US, so I advised him to get in touch with Holger, who runs a firm advising SAP related ISV’s in the German market.
Niel lives in Boulder, Colorado. that seems a fabulous place. I really ought to visit. I’m meeting some interesting people through blogging.