SAP CEO Promises Software For A World That's Less 'Hard-Wired'

Under a blueprint it calls Enterprise Services Architecture, SAP is trying to position NetWeaver as more than an integration platform. By incorporating Web services and core application functionality from SAP and independent software vendors, SAP is pitching it as a business-process platform on which businesses will build and connect enterprise applications to serve often-changing business practices.

"The business environment is changing," Kagermann said, noting that business is evolving from hard-wired processes to adaptive business networks. "Growth in uncertain times means that we can't rely on the same hard-wired business processes. We need flexibility. We need soft-wired processes."

Last month SAP unveiled an Enterprise Services Architecture "preview" system offering more than 500 services for developers, customers, and partner companies. SAP intends to give the first independent software vendors access to the business-process platform later this year, and SAP's complete suite of applications for all industries will be available for NetWeaver by year's end.

Sometime next year, partners and customers will be able to build composite applications on the business-process platform, Kagermann said. In 2007, all SAP applications for all industries will be available on the platform, completing the Enterprise Services Architecture road map.

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The technology will make it easier for Colgate-Palmolive Co., a major SAP customer, to add new application components to its IT system, said Tom Greene, VP of global IT, during a panel segment of Kagermann's presentation.

SAP said that a number of major IT vendors, including Adobe, Cisco Systems, Computer Associates, EMC, Intel, and Microsoft, have agreed to support its Enterprise Services Architecture plans and license the technology.

SAP Wednesday also unveiled master data-management capabilities in NetWeaver designed to help ensure data consistency and accuracy across heterogeneous applications and databases. SAP said that appliance manufacturer Whirlpool Corp. has deployed SAP NetWeaver MDM for global data-synchronization tasks.

Also at Sapphire, which had about 9,000 attendees Wednesday, SAP debuted the next release of its MySAP CRM customer-relationship-management applications. The applications offer new capabilities for service management and marketing resource management, and mobile sales features for handheld devices. They also add industry-specific functionality for telecommunications, public-sector, and financial-services companies. The applications will be available in October.

SAP also announced that J.P. Morgan Chase and Co. will implement SAP for Banking, the vendor's MySAP applications built for the banking industry. In a statement, the financial-services company said it will consolidate all of its domestic ledgers onto a single platform using the application set, reducing expenses and making it easier to analyze financial and business performance. The cost of the deal was not disclosed.