SAP is planning to move at "Internet speed" to implement its newly announced Web portal site strategy, worrying first about "creating a marketplace" and later about how it will make money doing so.
"First we create the marketplace. Then we worry about the revenue," said company Co-chairman Hasso Plattner here today at a press conference, held partly to give more details on the vendor's Internet strategy, announced this morning.
The strategy includes four components, SAP announced at the press conference: mySAP.com, the main portal; mySAP.Business scenarios, products for the Internet and Intranet; mySAP-Employee Workplace, a personalised user interface for customers; and SAP applications hosted on the Web.
SAP is investing several hundred million marks in the portal strategy, Plattner said, and the products will be made available over the course of the year.
The main portal, mySAP.com, will be open to users of non-SAP products. Besides providing personally configured Web content, the mySAP.com portal will host directories that ultimately will be able to provide companies the ability to conduct electronic commerce with each other, SAP said.
But SAP has no desire to get into the business of maintaining that relationship once it is established, Plattner said. "That's when we disengage," he said. "We are not going to be monitoring who buys what."
MySAP.com will include one general site offering related software, hardware and IT services, as well as 19 industry-specific sites, Plattner said. SAP has already held discussions with airlines, health care institutions and utilities about creating such industry-specific sites.
The mySAP.Business Scenarios, which are available immediately, comprise SAP applications that are configured based on an employee's role within a company, SAP said. The product features vary, for example, depending on whether the user is a full-time, professional user, or an occasional user. The business scenarios are available immediately for the products SAP Business-to-Business Procurement, SAP Business-to-Consumer Selling, and SAP Business-to-Business Selling.
SAP will also target small and medium companies with Web-based application hosting services. Companies including British Telecom PLC, Deutsche Telekom AG, EDS, and AT&T will provide small companies -- defined as those with annual revenue of between US$2 million and $20 million -- with selected SAP applications over the Internet.
Users of mySAP-Employee Workplace will be able to put together a personalised site that they can access from any workplace computer via a password.
The mySAP.home offering will focus on helping users that want to work on selected SAP applications from their homes. But the ability to access these applications via a browser is a new feature only available to users of R/3 version 4.5 or higher, Plattner said in response to a question.
That means a lot of current users will have to upgrade if they want to take advantage of the features. Out of SAP's 20,000 installations, about 600 use version 4.5, another 8,000 version 4.0. The more than 11,000 remaining installations are still using variations on version 3.0.
SAP, in Walldorf, Germany, can be reached at +49-6227-74-74-74, or at http://www.sap.com/.