SAP to broaden automotive offering

Looking to boost its presence in the automotive industry, SAP has purchased a specialized application for car dealers and plans to bundle it into its own software portfolio.

The ERP vendor Tuesday announced the purchase of the DCS Quantum vehicle dealer system from DCS Automotive, a subsidiary of U.K.-based DCS Group. This application will be integrated into SAP's existing auto industry suite and will be known as SAP Dealer Business Management.

The auto industry application is built around SAP's core mySAP ERP backbone and is used by car dealerships, distributors and importers to support their sales and services processes. SAP says about 1,300 customers use its automotive suite.

With the addition of SAP Dealer Business Management, the vendor said it will now be able to deliver a single product for auto dealers around the globe. The software offers a variety of functions, including easier collaboration processes and customer demand analysis. Moreover, it will work with the SAP NetWeaver middleware stack for easy integration with other applications.

"SAP Dealer Business Management will help our customers integrate and scale their operations, as well as save time and money by improving business process flexibility and unifying their IT infrastructure," said Claus Heinrich, member of SAP's executive board.

SAP Dealer Business Management is expected to ship in the third quarter this year.

Thilo Koslowski, an automotive analyst at Gartner Inc., said in the SAP statement that increasing competition in the auto industry makes software packages such as SAP Dealer Business Management important.

"The deregulation of the automotive retail industry in Europe and continued consolidation of dealers in North America will result in increased competition, growing market complexity and economic uncertainty," Koslowski said. "Future success of automotive retailers will lay in their ability to create consistent consumer experiences throughout the presale, sale and postsale phases. A comprehensive dealer management system will be the foundation for creating consistent processes that will meet customers' needs and maximize dealer profits."

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