SAP - A Humble Giant From The Reality Land? Part 2: Expanding Functionality
Written By: Predrag Jakovljevic
Published On: August 1 2001
SAP - A Humble Giant From The Reality Land? Part 2: Expanding Functionality
During its international e-business conference, SAPPHIRE, on June 12--15,
SAP AG (NYSE: SAP), the leading provider of business software solutions,
released a spate of upbeat announcements in its effort to portray itself
as a reformed vendor of choice for all aspects of e-Business, including
planning and collaboration. As an illustration thereof, SAP cited that
its flagship mySAP.com suite has met with remarkable success in
the market. SAP reached a major milestone in 2000 when the number of licensed
users of its mySAP.com platform reached 1 million. Since then, more than
3 million additional users have reportedly licensed mySAP.com.
This Note: This is a five-part note covering the announcements at
the SAPPHIRE conference, the market impact of those announcements,
the challenges SAP faces, and user recommendations. Part Five will
contain links to the previous parts.
Another tune that SAP tried to beat during the conference was its expansion
from the realm of traditional ERP. SAP touts a multi-pronged answer to
prevailing heterogeneous IT environments. The company is staking its future
on five pillars - exchanges, portals and the three extended-ERP applications:
customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM),
and product life-cycle management (PLM). To that end, at SAPPHIRE, SAP
tried to demonstrate open integration and depth and breadth of functionality
with its latest mySAP CRM release. SAP also demonstrated continued market
adoption of mySAP CRM by announcing 50% sales growth in
its CRM business since the beginning of the year, bringing the current
number of mySAP CRM customers to more than 850 worldwide.
newest version of mySAP CRM, scheduled for general availability in the
third quarter of 2001, reportedly offers businesses the wide number of
deployment options available to best suit their needs, providing flexibility
for executing their business strategies regardless of their organizational
structures or business systems.
option is to deploy mySAP CRM independent of other SAP products. This
option enables non-SAP customers to benefit from mySAP CRM. The solution
can be accessed through multiple channels - face-to-face, contact centers,
the Web and mobile devices. In addition, mySAP CRM now features a billing
engine that enables order-to-cash processing directly within the solution.
second deployment option is to integrate mySAP CRM with supply chain
management (SCM) solutions from SAP and other vendors, allowing customer
demand to drive the supply chain. Order management capabilities within
mySAP CRM enable companies to commit to customers' needs in real time
and to deliver on their promise.
third option is to run one central mySAP CRM solution servicing
multiple business units, whether they are running different SAP or non-SAP
back-end enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. This scenario enables
companies to consolidate customer data and information from various systems,
geographies, partners and so forth into one information hub, allowing
all employees to strategically and consistently manage relationships with
their customers. In addition, mySAP CRM is the enabler for the marketplace
order management system within public and private exchanges offered by
SAP announced the enhancement of mySAP SCM to manage adaptive supply
chain networks through use of new intelligent agent technology. Adaptive
supply networks are supposedly an evolution of supply chains and will
combine global visibility, event management, adaptive planning and execution,
and dynamic collaboration. An adaptive supply network will provide business
partner integration and dynamic collaboration through portals and exchanges.
new SAP Event Management - a component of mySAP SCM - enables global
visibility through real-time event coordination and management across
a network. In response to these events, intelligent agents will automatically
trigger a variety of problem resolution techniques resulting in the optimization
of the adaptive supply network. SAP believes intelligent agents are the
next stage of adaptive planning and execution. SAP and BiosGroup, Inc.
will team to define and create these adaptive Intelligent Agents. BiosGroup
is a consulting and software group that uses complexity science and agent-based
concepts to provide technology to create adaptive supply networks. SAP
intends to release the first version of intelligent agents during the
second quarter of 2002. Event Management and intelligent agents should
monitor and coordinate the whole spectrum of supply network activities
from sourcing components, to assembly and manufacture of products, to
final delivery in order to satisfy customer expectations.
SAP announced significant new functional enhancements to the mySAP
PLM solution, enabling companies to more fully collaborate throughout
the product creation process. SAP touts that a customer-centric view helps
to ensure that market requirements are captured as early as possible so
that the right product gets to the customer at the right cost and at the
right time, which companies should now be able to attain through new functionality
within mySAP PLM.
Design functionality should enable designers to capture product requirements
in a flexible and structured way, developing alternatives, evaluating
alternatives against product requirements and completing the creation
of the product structure.
products and process industries should benefit from the new Recipe
Management functionality, which focuses on reducing time and cost
to market for recipe-driven products. Specification, formula and label
management, combined with flexible management of composition, nutrition
and material lists, provide process support for the development of new
teams need support as they work on projects and documents. cFolders
facilitate collaboration, including the integration of synchronous collaboration
tools such as WebEx Interactive Services from WebEx
Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: WEBX), to enable real-time
sharing of documents and applications.
on SAP Portals' technology, mySAP PLM provides iViews that should
enable design engineers, maintenance managers, project and quality managers,
and business partners to have instant access to all of the information,
applications and services needed to perform their jobs in a sensible manner.
data consistency through Product Data Replication is an additional
product enhancement of mySAP PLM. This capability enables the controlled
distribution of product information from a central mySAP PLM system into
Audit Management processes support quality audits performed
throughout the life span of a project or product development, resulting
in higher product quality.
SAP Portals, Inc., a provider of open-enterprise
portal and business intelligence (BI) products and a wholly owned subsidiary
of SAP, unveiled its business strategy and open partnership model. SAP
Portals has 700 employees, more than 6 million users and more than 2,000
customers. In addition, it is actively forming comprehensive partnerships
with content partners, OEM partners, technology partners and system integrator
Since SAP announced the formation of SAP Portals in April, the company
has been working closely with CorporateYahoo! to develop joint
enterprise portal solutions. The solutions should enable global enterprises
to improve productivity and create efficiencies by providing employees,
customers and partners with a single place from which to access all the
information, applications and services they need from both internal and
external sources. In addition, the joint solution should supposedly leverage
role-based personalization so people can view information that is important
and relevant to them anywhere as the solution can be accessed via both
standard Web browsers and mobile devices.
Portals has developed an open partnership model that fosters a broad technology
and content ecosystem and has OEM licensing arrangements with several
leading companies. As mentioned in Part
One, IBM will license and embed a Java version of SAP Portals'
iViewServer into its IBM WebSphere Portal Server.
This alliance will reportedly enable customers to integrate information
from key enterprise business applications from SAP, PeopleSoft,
Baan, Siebel Systems, and Oracle into portals
solutions using IBM's WebSphere Portal Server.
Portals' OEM partnership with Baan offers customers the ability to strengthen
the integration of disparate software applications throughout their enterprise.
Technology from SAP Portals is deeply embedded within Baan's Portal product.
SAP Portals' OEM partnership with Microsoft Corp. is designed
to make it easy for corporations to integrate information from enterprise
applications such as those from SAP, Siebel, PeopleSoft and Baan into
the Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server. SAP Portals'
iViewServer Developer Edition is included within the Microsoft Digital
Dashboard Resource Kit 3.0 and will enable developers to design, download
and customize iViews to access data from enterprise applications and syndicated
of the company's open partnership model, SAP Portals believes its iView
technology is emerging as the industry standard for integrated enterprise
portal content. SAP Portals now offers iViews for mySAP.com, SAP R/3,
Siebel eBusiness 2000, Oracle Application Server, PeopleSoft HRMS, WebEx,
e-Room, Clarify, Lotus Notes, Microsoft Exchange and Documentum. SAP Portals
iViews provide users with personalization, security and single sign-on
features as well as extensibility. iViews operate in all compatible enterprise
portal platforms, including those provided by SAP and SAP Portals, iBaan
Portal, IBM WebSphere Portal Server, and Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server.
concludes Part Two of a five-part note on recent developments covered
by the SAPPHIRE e-business conference. Part
One covered Alliances and Partnerships. Part Three will cover the