Users will be able to access back-end ERP applications directly from their Outlook programs, including HR, analytics, supply chain monitoring and more, all demonstrated by SAP's chief technologist, Shai Agassi, during his Sapphire keynote.
BOSTONSAP AG gave a sneak peek of Mendocino, the product that will merge Microsoft Corp.s Office environment with SAPs enterprise resource planning applications, at the companys Sapphire user conference here on Thursday.
During his morning keynote, Shai Agassi, an SAP executive board member now in charge of the companys technology development, displayed an Outlook in-box that had been tied directly to SAP applications, including human resources, embedded analytics, supply chain monitoring and more.
The Mendocino project is "working to connect ad hoc events with the backbone of the business," Agassi said. "Outlook is the ball and chain that keeps us going all day, and SAP is behind the scenes [in Mendocino]."
In the demonstration, Agassi clicked on a sample e-mail that lauded one of his employees, "Joe." To store that information in a personnel file, he clicked on a drop-down menu to add the kudos-carrying e-mail to Joes file in the human resources system.
From there, Agassi clicked to bring up Joes profile, complete with his photograph, information on his salary, the ratio of what his salary is compared with other employees and the results of Joes year-end review.
Using a task bar, Agassi then pulled contextual information from SAP applications to see what funds were in his employee compensation budget, including what percentage is available to spend, thanks to embedded analytics on team compensation.
"I can go directly from the Outlook context," Agassi said. "I want to give him a bonus. Lets say well give him an extra $5,000 and say, Great job!"
Upon Agassis clicking to issue the bonus, the combined Office/SAP prototype then returned to the back-office system and discovered the amount was over a company-authorized cap on discretionary spending, thus flagging the user that hed need approval for the amount.
"Its all in the familiar environment of Outlook," Agassi said.
Agassi listed other tie-ins between SAP and Microsoft Office technology, including a supply chain monitor that will send alerts via e-mail to flag, for example, when a manufacturer will run out of fuel in a matter of days.
Mendocino will send the e-mail alert, list common resolutions, point to reports the user might need to know about, and allow the user to then directly go in and manage the necessary resources by adding vendors, checking sources and/or checking availability, for example.
Next Page: Analytics is "everywhere" in SAP products.
Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for eWEEK.com and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on eWEEK.com, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.