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Grant Thornton Partners with eOnline

Grant Thornton LLP, a national SAP implementation partner, yesterday announced the formation of an alliance with enterprise application service provider eOnline.

Through the partnership, Grant Thornton, which has extensive experience in ensuring rapid implementation of SAP R/3, will be able to offer eOnline's SAP ASP expertise, to provide a complete solution that, according to company spokespersons "minimizes the risk, time, and cost associated with deploying and managing enterprise application solutions."

"This partnership will deliver application, implementation, and lifecycle management for small and mid-sized companies who otherwise couldn't afford to deploy or manage SAP -- and for larger organizations who want to optimize their investment in their IT infrastructure," said Paul Strandburg, West Coast SAP Practice Director of Grant Thornton.

Interestingly, the announced partnership leaves Grant Thornton in the position of being, in effect, a partner of two business arch-rivals, SAP and Oracle. Given the competition between the two software giants, can a relatively small consulting firm remain allied to both, or will it have to take sides?

While unusual, this is not unprecedented in the ASP arena. For example, EDS is allied not only with SAP and Oracle, but also such competitor pairings as Netscape-Sun and Microsoft, and Hewlett-Packard and Cisco.

In sharp contrast, eOnline is allied with SAP but not with Oracle.

Only time will tell whether the competing software companies will attempt to force their service-oriented partners to choose sides.