SAP Lays Out Product Roadmap Through 2010

The major initiatives range from analytics, enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), composite applications, and NetWeaver, to Mendocino, an application co-developed with Microsoft Corp. that the companies will preview on Dec. 23.

"We are working with intense competitors to develop platforms," said Dennis Moore, general manager of emerging solutions at SAP Labs LLC. "We're learning to be a platform company, and understand that if we try to capture all the value and deliver all the innovation into this market, we won't be successful.

Success means making it possible for other vendors to succeed too, Moore said. For example, Ariba Inc., whose spend-management software competes directly with SAP SRM, has partnered with the German software maker to integrate its suite of applications with Ariba&'s supplier network.

Similarly, Mendocino, code name for a product that Microsoft and SAP co-developed, adds context from the mySAP enterprise applications to Microsoft Outlook, Excel, and other Office applications.

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A test version of Mendocino will begin shipping in the first quarter of 2006, and move into full production the following quarter. SAP also will roll out SAP Analytics early in the year, and begin shipping production quantities of SAP xMII 12.0, which provides a connection between shop-floor systems and business operations. In the second quarter of 2006 SAP will deliver mySAP Business Suite 2005, and SAP GTS 7.0. SAP Analytics is scheduled to follow shortly after. In the third quarter, SAP will introduce the next major release of NetWeaver with a focus on the mid market and extended enterprise services repository.

SAP executives also presented industry analysts with a progress report on the implementation of the NetWeaver platform. More than 2,000 customers are implementing the NetWeaver platform, which launched in the third quarter of 2004.

Although the initial phase of development on the first generation of xApps composite applications began in 2002, SAP will continue to deliver them through 2008. Until now they have been based on models and processes running on top of Web services. The second generation began this year and will go through 2010. SAP began in 2005 to develop the next generation of xApps based on events, rather than processes. "This may seem like a fairly semantic point, but it's not," Moore said. "It's a much more complex design, but gives more flexibility into IT."

Other projects on the horizon are Enterprise 3.0, which Moore defines as "essentially the enterprise equivalent" of Web 2.0. In 2006, SAP will introduce 100 analytical xApps, 50 productivity xApps, and numerous mobile xApps and voice xApps.

The voicemail xApps, for example, will initiate work alerts and flow the information into voicemail. "These xApps allow you to receive an alert by cellular phone and act on the information wherever you are." Moore said. "There is no reason that those workflow alerts I need to deal with can't be in my voicemail. I can press 6 to delete it or 7 to approve."