SAP Unveils Component xApps

SAP's new Cross Applications will enable users to leverage existing technology by providing component software that aggregates and automates information.

Building on its mySAP Technology platform, SAP AG introduced a new line of applications at its SAPPHIRE user conference in Orlando, Fla., this week.

Cross Applications, also known as xApps, will enable users to leverage existing technology, both SAP and non-SAP, by providing component software that aggregates and automates information across applications to fit a specific need.

SAP has identified about 200 potential Cross Applications as a road map for development. SAP is working on four: Sourcing, now in beta; Resource and Program Management, due later this year. In development are Employee Relationship Management and Mergers & Acquisitions xApps.

SAP, of Waldorf, Germany, also is working with service integrator Accenture to build industry-specific Cross Applications like collaboration and supply chain offerings for the oil and gas industries and partner connection offerings for the chemical industry.

Since the Cross Applications are meant to integrate and sit horizontally across applications like Siebels CRM or PeopleSofts human resource systems, SAP is seeking customers that will be part of the development process of additional xApps, officials said.

Falling under the auspices of the collaboration area within SAP, xApps utilize the functionality of the mySAP Technology platform, including its Exchange integration component, portals component and Web Application Server. They also incorporate SAPs Business Warehouse software to provide information integration.

To further the capabilities of its Exchange integration stack, as well as the xApps, SAP also announced an agreement with EAI vendor WebMethods Inc. in which webMethods will provide adapters to integrate SAP with non-SAP applications through the SAP Exchange Infrastructure.

SAP will resell adapters from webMethods, of Fairfax, Va. The reseller agreement also includes webMethods e-standards integration modules, providing SAP customers with business-to-business communication alternatives via EDI [Electronic Data Interchange] and industry standards the likes of RosettaNet and CIDX, the chemical industry eStandards.

xApps will be built as pre-packaged offerings and sold based on the number of mergers and acquisitions or the number of project assignments a company completes in a year. This pricing model, however, is still under investigation with SAP, said Shai Agassi, who heads the Collaboration unit for SAP. If it doesnt work, SAP will look to another pricing model.