SAP accomplishments are not original

Some of the recent posts on Shai Agassi’s blog talks about his previous employer, SAP, and their ERP accomplishments. I find his blogs get quite long-winded and the language is sometimes difficult to follow, but I understood enough to want to comment on two blogs he recently wrote.

Firstly, he refers to the column-orientated data warehouse (the BAI) that SAP came out with. But what SAP did there was not new. Back in 1995, I was at the RedBrick Data Warehouse company, based in Los Gatos, California, and I remember them talking about changing the data warehouse (DW) database structure from row- to column-oriented, because that is the way DWs get used. (History note: Redbrick was founded by Ralph Kimball, a former mentor, and had its IPO in 1995. Subsequently it was acquired by Informix, who then got bought by IBM. Redbrick is still part of IBM’s product line).

The other comment concerns how SAP started with domain specific languages, ABAP and Basis, but has done great things with its more open specification, NetWeaver. I just want to remind people that another ERP company has done the same thing – SYSPRO – which develop its product on the MicroFocus COBOL platform, but has come out with great functionality with its e.Net specification.

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