Top Execs at TomorrowNow Depart, SAP Hints at Sale
November 26, 2007 Timothy Prickett Morgan
ERP software giant SAP said last week that several top executives at its TomorrowNow unit, which sells third-party support for various Oracle ERP suites, have resigned. The company also said in a statement that it was exploring its options for the TomorrowNow unit, including selling it.
TomorrowNow offers independent support for customers using PeopleSoft, JDE, and Siebel software suites. No software company is happy when a third party is offering support for its products, but Oracle was obviously unhappy when SAP acquired TomorrowNow in January 2005.
SAP did not explain in its statement the reasons why Andrew Nelson, TomorrowNow’s chief executive officer, and several senior managers, resigned their posts. No explanation was really necessary in this case, given the ongoing lawsuit between SAP and Oracle over how TomorrowNow allegedly stole support materials and patches to Oracle products to support its business. That lawsuit against SAP Americas and TomorrowNow was filed by Oracle on March 22 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, in San Francisco. Oracle and SAP Americas are both Delaware corporations, and the choice of venue in California was chosen because of that state’s laws against computer fraud. In July, SAP admitted that software fixes and support documents were inappropriately downloaded, but said that TomorrowNow was allowed to download materials from Oracle’s Web sites on behalf of TomorrowNow’s customers. SAP also wanted to make it clear that these activities were contained within TomorrowNow’s systems and no data or patches got back to SAP proper.
Immediately following the lawsuit, Mark White, chief operating officer and the former chief financial officer of SAP Americas, was put in TomorrowNow as its executive chairman, and he has created what SAP calls strict guidelines for TomorrowNow employees, training them on the new procedures for handling data on behalf of customers. White is still in that position, and is in charge of TomorrowNow.
“Our primary focus is TomorrowNow’s existing customers, who will be supported through this management transition,” said White. “SAP is prepared to manage through these changes to ensure that TomorrowNow’s obligations to its current customers are met.”
Of this, you can be sure. The last thing SAP wants is TomorrowNow customers to become disgruntled in any way. And the first thing it must want is for this whole mess to go away. It is hard to imagine that anyone would buy TomorrowNow before this lawsuit is settled.