SAP buys BPM vendor to boost NetWeaver

Latest buy comes hot on the heels of Business Objects deal

SAP is buying a small Indian software company to help beef up the business process management capabilities in its NetWeaver applications platform.

The ERP giant is purchasing Yasu Technologies, a maker of business rules management software, which helps ensure that business processes automated through software are in compliance with a company's rules and regulations.

SAP describes the deal as a "fill in" acquisition that will bridge a gap in its technologies. The deal is due to close this month. The financial terms were not disclosed.

Several vendors, including SAP, are providing software tools that allow companies to automate common business processes, such as issuing a purchase order or checking inventory levels, with the goal of making them more efficient.

While the tools for creating the processes are fine, companies need better management software to ensure that the processes comply with company rules and industry regulations, says Rolf Schumann, SAP's chief technology officer for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

For example, he says, some publicly traded companies are prohibited by regulations from allowing more than five of their board members to fly on the same aircraft, in case of a crash. Yasu's software will monitor flights booked through a company's travel applications and raise an alert if too many board members are booked on the same flight.

Its business rules management system will be integrated with a future version of SAP's Process Integration software, which is part of NetWeaver, Schumann says. It allows the rules to be managed centrally, and for developers to consult them when they're building applications, he says.

Yasu was founded in 1999 and has about 120 employees. Its customers include BMW.

Earlier this month SAP announced that it is to buy business intelligence vendor Business Objects. A few days later Oracle offered to buy BEA Systems, whose software competes with SAP's NetWeaver, but BEA said the offer was too low.

Kagermann told the Financial Times that SAP won't enter a bidding war for BEA, and that its strategy is still to grow its two core businesses — applications and middleware — organically.

However, he wouldn't rule out further big acquisitions in areas where SAP is not already strong. "We are categorically not excluding further big acquisitions," Kagermann said.

The company also continues to snap up smaller companies. It has bought more than a dozen vendors in the past three years, including five in 2005, three in 2006 and six so far this year, including Yasu and Business Objects. That compares to more than 30 acquisitions by Oracle.

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