SAP moves to boost collaboration

Edging further into the middleware and integration infrastructure market, SAP AG is pushing out a revision of its Enterprise Portal application designed to run on a wider variety of platforms, handle more languages and enable new types of collaboration.

The business applications vendor announced Wednesday SAP Enterprise Portal Version 6, which it claims will let companies extend the reach of the portal further than was possible before, said Greg Crider, director of product marketing for SAP's Enterprise Portal. Among other enhancements, SAP has expanded operating system support beyond just the Windows NT server platform to other flavors of Windows as well as Unix.

SAP has also increased the number of supported languages from seven to 20, including most of those used in European and Asian nations. To ease the installation and use of the portal, SAP is also bundling adapters and predefined business rules so processes can be added on the fly without the need for consultants, said Crider. Those processes, for example, could include employee self-service or financial services reporting functions.

SAP has also added new collaboration features that include instant messaging, Web-based application sharing and real-time collaboration.

The company also outlined enhancements to its knowledge management capabilities, which include content management and data retrieval as well as categorization, search and notification functions. Through an easily customized interface, users can also control how information is presented to them.

"We chose the new SAP Enterprise Portal as it supports our strategy of digitalizing the work environment at Lufthansa," said Thomas Endres, chief information officer of Germany-based airlines Lufthansa AG, in a statement. Lufthansa has been deploying the portal since July as part of a large-scale implementation that will support wide-ranging collaborative processes and workflows and allow the airline to collapse its various intranets into a single platform, he said.

"With the new portal, our employees have access to integrated, actionable intelligence to identify and address business issues faster and more effectively," said Endres. "SAP Enterprise Portal also helps us lower costs as it leverages our existing systems and developments."

SAP Enterprise Portal Version 6 is now generally available.

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