Against the backdrop of real-time collaboration platforms such as Google Wave and IBM's Project Vulcan, SAP plans to launch 12Sprints, a platform that includes instant messaging and document sharing, into public beta Feb. 2. The enterprise applications provider intends 12Sprints as a Web-based meeting room where corporate employees can virtually congregate for strategy sessions on projects. 12Sprints streamlines workflow by letting anywhere from five to 30 users analyze data from enterprise applications, such as a pipeline analysis in a business intelligence tool or a purchase order approval in an ERP system, and discuss the app using chat tools.
Google may have been the first to launch a widely publicized real-time
collaboration platform in Google Wave
, but rivals with a more laserlike focus on the
enterprise are coming to the fore.
SAP plans to launch 12Sprints
, a platform that
includes instant messaging and document sharing, into public beta Feb. 2. The
business application maker intends 12Sprints, internally known as
Constellation, as a Web-based meeting room where corporate employees can
virtually congregate for strategy sessions on projects.
David Meyer, vice president of emerging technologies at SAP,
provided eWEEK with a demo of the tool. 12Sprints streamlines workflow by
letting anywhere from five to 30 users analyze data from enterprise
applications, such as a pipeline analysis in a business intelligence tool or purchase
order approvals in an ERP system, and discuss the app using chat tools.
Typically, users would view these apps on their computer screen, then hop on
instant messaging or the phone to discuss them with coworkers or partners.
12Sprints keeps the sharing, communication and analysis of information within
the same environment, letting users message each other to discuss purchase
orders and share content in sessions SAP
"What we want to do is seamlessly take content from anywhere, bring it
into a place where users can connect with anyone in any other system and give
them tools on top of that to lead them to be more informed executives, better
product managers and a better salesperson," said Meyer, who came to SAP
by way of BEA Systems, where he led the company's social computing effort.
In the demo, Meyer showed how a team collaborated on a product package name
using 12Sprints, which leverages the iPaper technology
from document sharing specialist Scribd.
Meyer showed how team members could simultaneously view a Scribd
presentation directly within 12Sprints without leaving the platform. Coworkers
could then comment on their work in real time in a messaging window, supported
by the XMPP protocol, which Google Wave uses.
12Sprints also has an extension for the Web annotation service Evernote,
letting users bring clips created in that app into activities, and an extension
for customer feedback app UserVoice.
Unlike Google Wave, whose "waves" were originally available for
all to see, activities created within 12Sprints are not public. Participants
upload content, but colleagues only see it if they are invited to the activity
Similar to Google Wave, 12Sprints is intended as an open cloud computing
environment; Meyer said third-party developers can write or port apps to the
environment through REST APIs.
Later this year, SAP will add publishing
features to let users export content as PDFs and other formats for use in
Microsoft SharePoint or the Google Sites wiki.
Participants who get invited into a 12Sprints session may do so for free.
Meyer declined to comment on general availability or pricing for 12Sprints,
which comes after Google has tested Google Wave for months, rolling it out
first to thousands and then to more than 1 million users.
SAP's platform also comes as IBM
is plotting Project Vulcan
, its own effort to marry enterprise application
data and business intelligence with collaboration and social computing
IBM plans to launch Vulcan, for which a
demo may be viewed here
, to developers from IBM
Lotus Labs later this year.