SAP expands in the public sector, unveils wares

SAP announces a flurry of partnerships and product enhancements at its Sapphire European customer event.

German business software vendor SAP opened its Sapphire European user conference in sunny Copenhagen with a flurry of announcements, highlighting some of the company's new partnerships and product enhancements.

SAP and Danish IT service provider KMD A/S have agreed to a partnership to develop standard software for social services and social security processes in the public sector. The companies will use SAP's NetWeaver technology as the underlying platform to build applications based on SAP's CRM (customer relationship management) and flagship ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems.

The partnership with KMD complements other alliances SAP has in the public sector, including one with IBM Corp. to develop and market technology for the global social services and social security marketplace.

For the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, SAP said it has just completed a significant public sector project. The accounting project makes the Commission the first European institution to comply with International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). The application designed for the Commission uses the accrual accounting and funds management functions from the SAP for Public Sector software.

In addition to its public sector collaboration with SAP, IBM unveiled at Sapphire a version of its DB2 Universal Database that is optimized for customers running SAP applications. The two companies have integrated new features into the latest version of DB2, 8.2.2, to make configuration easier and improve overall performance. The new version will be available at the end of the month.

SAP and IBM have also been selected to provide software and services to the entire 120 store chain operated by the fashion retail chain Fossil Inc., the two technology companies announced. SAP will provide software for merchandise management and point-of-sale management, which will focus on improving visibility in Fossil's supply chain. IBM will provide retail consulting services.

Last year, SAP and IBM launched a strategic alliance aimed at helping retailers meet changing IT requirements at both the headquarter and store levels.

In response to new European Union regulations on how banks report their financial assets and liabilities, SAP launched the new banking application SAP Accounting for Financial Instruments. The product, developed with input from more than 20 major financial institutions, helps banks collect, report and audit financial information more efficiently by centralizing financial data in a common database.

Also on the financial front, SAP announced a deal to provide its SAP for Banking application to Nordea Bank AB, which requires help in meeting its Basel Capital Accord (Basel II) requirements. The SAP application is designed to help banks meet regulatory requirements for calculating risk exposure and capital and to support the supervisory review and disclosure process. Nordea is one of the largest providers of financial services in the Nordic and Baltic Seal region.

With Siemens, SAP announced a global strategic alliance to deliver IT technology to the healthcare provider market. The Siemens Soarian and SAP Healthcare product, based on the NetWeaver integration platform, is designed to help health-care organizations conduct collaborative business planning, in-depth financial analysis, accounting and human resource tasks. The product will first be made available in Germany, Japan and the U.S. A delivery date, however, wasn't available.

On the business intelligence front, SAP unveiled more than 100 industry-specific analytic applications to help businesses with their decision-making processes. SAP Analytics are a new breed of model-driven composite applications that extend across more than 25 industries.

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