SAP launches ERP suite

SAP AG Wednesday launched an enterprise resource planning suite that bundles traditional ERP components with integration features to allow customers to extend their systems beyond corporate borders.

MySAP ERP includes core modules drawn from the software maker’s legacy ERP arsenal, such as financials, human resources, order management and procurement software. In addition, mySAP ERP includes SAP’s newly announced technology platform, NetWeaver, which provides integration capabilities, business intelligence tools and portal software.

MySAP ERP creates a new tier in SAP’s product lineup, the company says. In terms of functionality, it fits in between the company’s core SAP R/3 Enterprise offering and its premier mySAP Business Suite, which adds CRM, product lifecycle management (PLM) and supply chain management (SCM) modules to the core ERP platform.

ERP systems traditionally are inwardly focused, says Bill Wohl, vice president of public relations at SAP. "R/3 as we know it today was designed to be an ERP system for the enterprise. Although it wasn’t closed externally, its primary function through the 1990s was to help companies organize themselves to run better and more efficiently," he says.

Today, companies need to establish system ties to the outside world to work better with customers, partners and suppliers, Wohl says. To provide those kinds of integration capabilities in mySAP ERP, "we took everything we know about R/3 and put it together with our NetWeaver platform," Wohl says.

MySAP ERP lays out a clear migration path for R/3 users, SAP says. Companies can deploy only the components they need and add on functionality as business requirements change.

This strategy could appeal to buyers who favor smaller up-front commitments and incremental expansion options, according to Jim Shepherd, senior vice president at ARM Research.

"SAP has obviously recognized that many prospects and existing customers are simply overwhelmed by the size and scope of its flagship product, mySAP Business Suite," Shepherd wrote in research brief. While customers want to know that SAP offers CRM, SCM and PLM functionality, they’re not necessarily ready to buy and implement those pieces, Shepherd said.

SAP unveiled mySAP ERP, which is available now, at this week’s CeBIT show in Hanover, Germany.

Also at the show, SAP laid out its plans to expand sales of its software to small and midsize businesses. SAP aims to provide tools -- such as APIs, sample code and development guidelines -- to make it easier for independent software vendors and resellers to build out the functionality of SAP’s Business One suite, which is aimed at small and midsize businesses, with industry-specific capabilities and interfaces to third-party products.

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