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Author's profile photo Bala Prabahar

Erred on the side of more marketing?

I’m writing this blog because I’m naive on social media etiquette. I learned a great deal about social media last week through Vijay’s blog , subsequent comments and Dennis’s blog.

I really loved reading Vijay’s blog because he explains things in very simple language. He says

My own opinion is that SAP handled this in a rather heavy handed way. Looking at it with a quantitative lens, probably SAP got the results they wanted. They took over a good part of the traffic with hash tags #OOW and #OOW12 with HANA content. They clearly did a lot more than just story correction. As much as social pundits might enjoy the idea of marketing and corporate communications using social for more things – I think the net result is just more overhead for people who use these platforms, and event organizers. The need for sophisticated filtering just got more important and troublesome, in my mind.

Sophisticated filtering is the solution? Just like Spam or junk folder in email systems, should Twitter give user an ability to Exclude tweets containing specific words?

HANA is clearly superior to the EXA* products in what it does.

In this blog, Vijay states:

I do expect SAP to come out with a larger number of HANA customers – I am guessing 700 +/- 10%. Any more than that will definitely make their competition sit up and take notice in my opinion.

Is 700 +/- 10% customers really large from SAP standpoint? If the competition is not already sitting up and taking notice, then I see a problem, not small one; a huge one for a company who wanted to be #2 DB vendor by 2015. And remember I happened to read this blog and LJE’s keynote on the same day and you can imagine how bad this news(combined) was for those who have been following SAP-HANA story for 2/3+ years and the shareholders.

How did SAP get here? My opinion: SAP didn’t market SAP-HANA as well as they should have. They continued to err on the side of less(marketing).


  • In 2011, LJE’s answer to SAP-HANA was Exalytics (Exadata is one component of Exalytics);and SAP argued, correctly, Exalytics-HANA comparison is not apples to apples.
  • In 2012, LJE announced Exadata-X3; while announcing Exadata-X3, what he mentioned about SAP-HANA was just unbelievable. Steve Lucas summarized:
  • Let’s just say it’s taken me 24 hours to get my eyebrows to lower to their normal position

    Read more:

  • What LJE meant was that Exadata-X3 is state of the art, futuristic technology, not comparable to SAP-HANA! Just in one year, he went from offering a comparable solution to better than SAP-HANA with only one component of 2011’s comparable solution! Does this make sense? I’ve not seen anyone – except SAP – discussing this so it seems did make sense to almost every non-SAP individual. I’m not trying to support SAP but I’m just trying to question the logic behind LJE’s claim.

In order for me to do my job and invest wisely, I need to know all facts. If Exadata-X3 is really better than SAP-HANA, I would like to know now than later. It seems SAP realized the mistake that they were erring on the side of less marketing. So they began a campaign – which it seems – including tweeting about SAP-HANA to hashtags OOW and OOW12. LJE made Exadata-X3 claim in Oracle Open World ’12 so SAP’s tweeting to the hashtags OOW and OOW12 made sense.

Currently several SAP Mentors believe SAP crossed the line by tweeting about SAP-HANA to Oracle’s hashtags. In the past, SAP erred on the side of less marketing. It didn’t work. It failed miserably. So did they start the campaign with the objective to err on the side of more marketing?

I see a parallel between Informix/Oracle Vs Oracle/SAP-HANA.

The Informix and Oracle Billboard Wars on highway 101.

The battle soon escalated into each company’s advertising, and Oracle even parked a mobile billboard in front of Informix’s headquarters.

Do you believe that SAP’s usage of Oracle hashtags is more intrusive and unethical than Oracle’s parking a  mobile billboard in front of Informix’s headquarters? Vijay’s recommendation for more sophisticated filtering feature in Twitter is great one.

Many at Informix wished the billboard wars had never started; however no one suggested what Informix or Oracle did was wrong. 

many at Informix wished the billboard wars had never started. It seemed we had awakened the eight-hundred pound gorilla and it was coming directly at us.

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Bala,

      Oracle clearly won the battle against Informix as the latter now is part of IBM and Oracle remains independent and has picked up a hardware company as it has grown bigger.

      IMHO, there are no such things as hijacked hashtags, and while it may not look very untasteful to flood the competitor with one's own opinions, i don't think Oracle will remain silent and will use the next available opportunity to retort whether at TechEd or Sapphire, so get ready for more.

      i only hope the red team won't see a need to involve their legal department as they have had in the past.



      Author's profile photo Bala Prabahar
      Bala Prabahar
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Greg,

      Dennis has confirmed my primary concern. Hijacked hashtags etc doesn't seem very critical at this point. Oracle's message demonstrates they're at least two steps ahead of SAP. I hope I'm wrong.

      Best regards,


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member


      i agree with Dennis that Oracle is not a dummy opponent and owning a hardware company can only help them, but they are no IBM either despite their claims and aggressive advertising. i also think that SAP has something going for them and using IBM and other hardware partners in a smart way stands a chance to take away some market share from the red team.

      obviously, i don't know how many steps, if any, they are ahead, but both blues were mentioned in LJE's keynote, so he knows better they can do deliver and add value to existing and new customers.

      i don't know who would do it, but i can imagine Gartner setting up some kind of benchmark demo where both blue and red can show their advantage to the customers and to each other.

      my 2 cents/3 Groschen

      Author's profile photo Bala Prabahar
      Bala Prabahar
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Greg,

      "Using IBM in a smart way" - Difficult situation as SAP's goal is to take their spot by 2015. At this point, IMO, as Dennis suggested SAP can rely on only one thing: testimonials from very large customers. If they can share success stories from very large customers in TechEd next week, then it would change everything. I hope SAP will focus on sending a simple message that HANA works for very large customers.

      Best regards,


      Author's profile photo Dennis Howlett
      Dennis Howlett

      @Bala - you are seriously under informed if you think Oracle spends all its time worrying about how to market against SAP.

      Study LJEs tactics and it soon becomes clear: irritate your enemy just enough that they will go into Pavlov dog mode while you continue on your path. It's that simple. SAP has played its hand exactly as Oracle wanted and you can be sure it is already two steps ahead in this game.

      Instead of whining about Oracle how about SAP showing us the use cases, the customers, the examples, the code. In other words show the world the demonstrable value proposition and leave the world to decide.

      Author's profile photo Bala Prabahar
      Bala Prabahar
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Dennis,

      Sure, they're at least two steps ahead in this game. I can see it - comparable Exalytics to superior Exadata. Thanks for the confirmation.

      Best regards,


      Author's profile photo Stephen Johannes
      Stephen Johannes

      Yes I rather see folks focus on the feature and let their enthusaism about the products and what it can do sell the products than trash your competitors.  SAP has not quite got to the level of the Samsung Commercials for the Galaxy S3 which are extremely clever, but tend to bash make fun of iPhone owners.  Yes I know the PC vs Mac ads made fun of the windows devices, but really most of thought is was Bill Gates was the target 🙂 .  The only thing I get from the Galaxy ads is that you are a loser to use an iPhone and not really why I want the S3 beyond being able to "bump" my phone with another to transfer stuff.

      I instead love the ads for the Kindle, even the Google Tablets and Chrome.  The ad for the Motorola Razr phone which is screen to screen is also cool.  The difference is that they talk and show what their product can do instead of just bashing their competition.  I'm not sure Enterprise Software needs stoop to the level of Ford vs Chevy truck marketing complete with the calvin decals.  I really think SAP can do better than that.

      Take care,