SAP: New software, new mobile deal

The global availability of a new software product for companies delivering professional project-based services and an agreement to collaborate with Vodafone Group PLC and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) on providing mobile enterprise systems were announced Wednesday by SAP AG.

The new mySAP Professional Services software targets professional service companies, such as consultancies, that provide project-based services, SAP said in a statement released at the CeBIT trade show. The product brings the number of industry-specific systems developed by SAP to 23, the company said.

The Professional Services software helps companies plan, organize, track and analyze their business activities, employees and costs, the company said.

SAP also used the CeBIT show to announce a letter of intent to collaborate with Vodafone and HP in delivering mobile business systems and services to enterprises in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Under the agreement, SAP will provide its Mobile Business software while HP will offer a range of hardware, such as notebooks, Tablet PCs and mobile printers, and services, including consulting and systems integration. Vodafone will provide network connectivity.

Fielding questions at a news conference, SAP Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Henning Kagermann said that the company's U.S. launch of its Business One software targeting small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) has been delayed. The software, which SAP initially planned to introduce to U.S. customers late last year, has required some additional features and the need to build a new distribution channel, resulting in the delay, he said.

Kagermann declined to say when the software would be available. In Europe, Business One has about 1,300 customers and 100 distribution partners, he said.

SAP has been selling its All-in-One software, based on its mySAP Business Suite, to midsize companies in the U.S. for several years, according to Kagermann.

Asked if SAP viewed Microsoft Corp. as friend or foe, Kagermann said that the German business software company partners with the U.S. software firm 95 percent of the time and competes 5 percent of the time. "Despite some of Microsoft's recent moves, we still see ourselves more as partners than as competitors," he said.

SAP is currently testing blade technology internally to see how its software could improve the performance of companies that decide to deploy this computing-on-demand technology, Kagermann said. "Our early testing with blade technology promises up to 25 percent reduction in total cost of ownership," he said.

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