SAP explains, simplifies Internet strategy

Enterprise applications vendor SAP AG will spend most of its next two user conferences simplifying and explaining its Internet strategy, formerly known as System mySAP.com, admitting it had 'confused the market'.

Enterprise applications vendor SAP AG will spend most of its next two user conferences, SAP TechEd this week and SAPphire in mid-September, simplifying and explaining its Internet strategy, formerly known as System mySAP.com.

"Unfortunately, we have confused the market with the overall positioning of mySAP.com," said Chris Larsen, senior vice president and new director of the mySAP.com division, in Atlanta.

At TechEd in Philadelphia this week, the company will reveal a new name that will encompass the mySAP.com portal and all SAP's electronic commerce plans as well as focus on underlying hardware and systems improvements to SAP's line of enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications, including support for Linux and handheld computers, Larsen said.

SAPphire, also in Philadelphia, will emphasize the Internet, including outsourcing applications; e-commerce storefronts and trading communities; desktop information portals; and more appealing, colorful interfaces.

The basic principle of mySAP.com is a Web interface, personalized for each user, that provides access to the information within R/3, SAP's flagship ERP suite, and other SAP applications, and to relevant content, including news, stocks, and analyst reports.

To help with the integration, both within the mySAP portal and with other systems, today SAP is announcing a partnership with webMethods, in Fairfax, Virginia, which makes Extensible Markup Language-based application integration. SAP will build on the webMethods B2B for Portals connector to create the SAP Business Connector, expected to ship early next year, officials said.

SAP at TechEd today also will announce the general availability of its R/3 suite on Red Hat Linux and Intel hardware.

Access to R/3 information via handhelds and even browser-equipped cell phones, developed by SAP's lab in Japan, will be demonstrated at the show and available by the year 2000.

The mySAP initiative is just one example of how "everyone in the enterprise software space is scrambling to Webify their applications," said Josh Walker, an analyst at Forrester Research, in Boston. "The client-server age is (being ended) by the Internet."

SAP AG, in Walldorf, Germany, is at http://www.sap.com/. Information on the TechEd conference is at http://www.sapteched.saplabs.com/.

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