HP, SAP team up on output management

Hewlett-Packard and SAP have announced they will collaborate on the development of output-management and data-delivery software for SAP customers.

The move is an expansion of a 10-year existing relationship between the two companies, with a HP output-management product planned for the third quarter of this year.

Output management is the way an application handles the output of data, including sending the information to a printer or a fax machine or publishing it on the Web.

The product will be branded as HP's output-management solution for SAP's R/3 and be sold by HP's worldwide sales force, according to Bill Bock, vice president and general manager of HP's services and solutions business unit.

Analysts have previously identified output management as something of a weak spot in SAP's R/3 ERP (enterprise resource planning) software suite.

"R/3 has a relatively limited predefined number of reports and ways to collect, process and put out the data," Rich Ptak, vice president of system and application management at Hurwitz Group said.

The key ingredient enabling HP and SAP to improve that situation is the technology HP acquired last year through the purchase of output-management specialist and market leader Dazel, HP's Bock said.

Dazel can take input from multiple sources, search through it for the content a user needs and then send it to the user in the output they need, Ptak at Hurwitz said.

Although Dazel was a long-term partner of SAP, the ERP vendor hadn't felt "comfortable" about entering into a more significant relationship with a company of its small size, Bock said.

With HP as Dazel's corporate parent and HP's global reach, SAP now feels confident about working together on interfacing Dazel and R/3, he added.

HP engineers will be working at SAP's headquarters in Walldorf, Germany, to ensure tight technical integration between the two technologies, according to Bock.

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