Software vendor SAP AG, regrouping after a shake-up of its American subsidiary last month, will get help at its Sapphire user conference this week from partners with new offerings that extend the functionality of SAPs enterprise applications.
Acsis Inc. will announce an automatic data collection and acquisition transaction service that works in SAP environments. The as-yet-unnamed service provides data links between physical inventory and SAPs enterprise resource planning systems for SCM (supply chain management).
Acsis, of Marlton, N.J., will also unveil Console for Pocket PC 2002. The software supports SAPConsole, a key part of SAPs Logistics Execution System, which provides a method for automatically collecting data through wireless connections to a shop floor. Acsis service and console are due July 1.
Kubota Tractor Corp. chose to use an early version of Acsis software to control its warehouse inventory over a native SAP solution, despite the fact that it was using SAP software elsewhere in the company, according to Christopher Havey, national parts manager.
"We were looking for a couple of key criteria," said Havey, in Torrance, Calif. "Being able to run the warehouses when SAP went down and the ability to do routing and wave picking design, which we wanted to make more efficient. SAP didnt have that—and they still dont."
On the development front, Serena Software Inc., of San Mateo, Calif., will announce SAP-certified change management software that automates changes to enterprise code and content. The companys ChangeMan products automatically coordinate and schedule deployment of changes to software into test and production environments.
The newly certified software also lets users maintain versioning, rollback and audit histories, as well as monitor disparate applications throughout their life cycles with a Master View feature.
ChangeMan for SAP is slated to be available this summer.
Separately, MasterCard International Inc. has customized its SmartLink software so it can integrate transaction and payment data from Master- Card commercial cards into SAP back-end systems. This streamlines the monitoring, management and administration of direct and indirect corporate expenses, according to MasterCard officials in Purchase, N.Y.
SAP, for its part, will take a customer-centric approach at the three-day Orlando, Fla., event. The Walldorf, Germany, company has doubled to 60 the number of customers presenting this year and will announce return-on-investment statistics for its MySAP Technology, supplier relationship management, CRM (customer relationship management), and business products for small and midsize companies.
In addition, the new interim SAP Americas Inc. CEO, Leo Apotheker, will address customer concerns regarding SAPs faltering sales division.
Customers will be looking for straight talk from Apotheker, some observers say.
"At SAP, their account management skills have not been top of the line, but theyve not been horrible in that the majority of the customers hate them," said Gartner Inc. analyst Bruce Bond, in Stamford, Conn. "SAPs after new business in the Americas, and theyve been under quite a lot of pressure. That translates for [salespeople] to go after the big deal, and they take less time with others."
SAP has focused on bringing in sales expertise in the areas of SCM and CRM and on "making a pricing sell, as opposed to a relationship sell," said Bond. "Thats definitely a U.S. trend."