Reorg Hits SAP America

SAP AG splits subsidiary into two divisions, moves CEO Wolfgang Kemna.

SAP AG shook up its SAP America Inc. subsidiary last week, splitting its North American sales force into two divisions and moving its CEO, Wolfgang Kemna, to a new division.

In its second reorganization in two years, SAP split the subsidiary into an Americas unit—which includes the United States and Canada—and a Latin America unit.

Leo Apotheker, the high-profile leader of SAPs European business, has been named interim CEO of the Americas, while also overseeing worldwide sales. Apotheker will replace Kemna, who has been named executive vice president of Global Initia- tives, a new division SAP created to focus on supply chain management and customer relationship management.

Kemna was appointed two years ago, succeeding Kevin McKay, who held the CEO position for a year. Kemna oversaw a period of declining license revenue and layoffs, and his division fell behind the performance of SAPs Europe and Asia-Pacific divisions, according to AMR Research Inc., in Boston.

This shake-up occurs on the heels of others this year, when SAP combined subsidiaries SAP Portals Inc. and SAP Markets Inc. into a new business unit, Collaborative Solutions.

Shai Agassi, former CEO of both SAP Portals and SAP Markets, heads the Collaborative Solutions division, which also focuses on integration.

Both Kemna and Agassi are heading divisions that SAP considers key as it ramps up for an economic rebound, according to an SAP spokesman at the companys U.S. headquarters in Newtown Square, Pa.

What customer Paul Hoogenboom, vice president of operations and CIO at RPM Inc., a specialty coatings manufacturer in Medina, Ohio, would like to see is a sales force more responsive to his needs—no matter how short- or long-term the opportunity is.

Hoogenboom was given a new SAP sales representative to support his full enterprise resource planning implementation. While he said hes happy with the change, Hoogenboom said time will tell if its an improvement over the previous representative.

"I dont think I have high hopes for the new rep," said Hoogenboom. "The old rep simply couldnt follow up on anything. I speculated thats because we werent going to spend a lot of money with SAP, and their short-term focus is on who was going to spend money."

A part of SAPs strategy going forward may be in BPM (business process management) integration.

SAP Ventures, the investment arm of SAP AG, has invested in a BPM company called Intalio Inc., in San Mateo, Calif., which will debut June 10 with a complete suite of process management applications.

Intalio founder Ismael Ghalimi is also the founder of the Business Process Management Initiative, the standards body that created the Business Process Management Language, a framework for business-analyst-level implementation of processes on which the Intalio engine is built. boasts members such as BEA Systems Inc., BMC Software Inc., IBM, Sun Microsystems Inc., Vitria Technology Inc. and SAP.

"When it comes to Intalio, their CEO is definitely a thought leader," said Barry Murphy, an analyst at The Delphi Group, in Boston. "SAP may have seen an opportunity to do a strategic partnership, putting some of [Intalios] software capabilities into SAP. It makes more sense to have strategic partners as opposed to building technology."

While SAP officials wouldnt confirm a specific relationship with Intalio, logically a BPM offering would fall under Agassis Collaborative Solutions business area.

"The ability of a company to take business process flow outside four walls [is] really where the power of collaborative apps comes in," said SAP spokesman Bill Wohl, when asked if Intalio would fit with SAP. "There is a natural fit there."