SAP, Visa team on expense management

Business application vendor SAP and credit card company Visa International have agreed to integrate two of their core products in a move to help businesses and their employees manage business expenses more efficiently, the companies announced Thursday at the Cebit trade show in Hanover, Germany.

Under the deal, the companies will integrate SAP NetWeaver, an open integration platform residing between computing infrastructure and business applications, and the Visa Commercial Format, a standard for transmitting data from all Visa commercial payment products to ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems.

By utilizing SAP NetWeaver to link transaction data directly from Visa Commercial payment products to SAP ERP systems, customers will be able to drive down administrative expenses, SAP said.

Visa offers businesses and governments an easy, convenient way to buy office supplies, manage travel and entertainment expenses, and track, monitor and control business expenses, according to the company. The credit card company developed the Visa Commercial Format as an extension of its settlement system to enable integration of Visa data into ERP systems, it said.

NetWeaver, which can link disparate applications and data sources, is interoperable with Microsoft's .Net and IBM's WebSphere platforms, and allows users to provision Web services that have been developed in Java.

In addition to the Visa deal, SAP Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Henning Kagermann announced the newest release of NetWeaver.

The new release provides a single product with all platform components fully synchronized, including SAP's Mobile Infrastructure, Enterprise Portal, Business Intelligence, Master Data Management, Exchange Infrastructure, Web Application Server, Composite Application Framework and Solution Manager.

SAP NetWeaver 2004 also contains several enhancements, according to Kagermann. They include the ability for customers to integrate RFID (radio frequency identification) data into SAP systems and to develop composite applications more easily with the help of a new framework, which offers guided procedures, dashboards and composite services.

Kagermann also announced plans to issue a new release of mySAP ERP -- the successor to the company's flagship R/3 product -- on a yearly basis.

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