Portals next big thing: SAP

Public marketplaces have definitely gone to an early grave, but according to SAP, private marketplaces and portals are set to become the latest big technology hope in a fad-weary industry.

Les Hayman, president and CEO for SAP Asia Pacific, speaking at Sapphire '01 in Brisbane, said the hype around public marketplaces had dissipated and he foresaw only a few surviving into the future.

"The business model is based on a transaction fee; [however], we never thought public exchanges would explode like the likes of Ariba.

"Private exchanges will be more important in the future as this model requires a strategic network of partners. A lot of large companies are taking up the technology to develop private exchanges."

Chris Bennett, managing director and CEO SAP Australia and New Zealand, said while customer relationship management (CRM) and business intelligence (BI) continue to be "huge", the biggest area on the horizon are portals.

"The demand is real [and] companies can expect up to 90 per cent savings when using a portal to integrate legacy systems.

"Our vision is that a portal will be the only thing used and users won't have to log on to anything else. It will operate as an unification portal," Bennet said.

Within Australia, he said, SAP has 46 portal sites; this number is expected to reach 100 by the end of next year.

"This is a very under-serviced market. We use the same visual technology as the Internet where users can drag and relate into a single environment." Bennett refuted suggestions that portals were just another intranet. "The intranet is another layer down and offers connectivity. The portal layer is transaction based."

Kelly Mills travelled to Sapphire as a guest of SAP

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