SAP Sketches Out Plans for the Long Haul - Page 2

That said, the company laid out a road map for getting there.

One area of increased investment for SAP will be around its partner network—an area it was not known to favor in the past.

To date, SAP has certified 1,000 partners, 60,000 developers and 500 channel partners on NetWeaver. It plans to increase spending in 2006 and beyond.

On the technical front, in 2006 SAP plans to introduce one central repository where enterprise services are contained.

Kagermann said this strategy is particularly important in that the repository represents a new level of abstraction in which companies will be attached and will decide how to configure software.

It also plans to release the fist iterations of products announced last year, including Mendocino, the joint development project with Microsoft that will link SAP process functionality to Microsoft Office applications.

The company will also release SAP xApps for analytics and SAP for Personal Productivity.

And sometime next month, after months at hinting at a product strategy, SAP will announce its plans for an on-demand CRM (customer relationship management) offering.

Beyond this year, SAP is looking at some rather nebulous strategies to move ahead.

It will focus on providing more capabilities for the business user—expected to be 50 percent of total revenues by 2010—and to continue expansion through organic growth.

The company plans to invest in talent (it fell short of its 3,000 new hire mark for 2005 by 1,000), in products, and in co-innovation with partners.

Kagermann said additional acquisitions are not out of the question, but will be along the lines of those the company made in the retail sector last year—in other words, no major buys.

"Our product strategy has been very transparent for a couple of years, and for the next couple of years well continue that strategy," Kagermann said.

"We think the roadmap will give us a lead over competitors for many years. Our guidance matches our long-term strategy."

But there are still other factors to consider in weighing SAPs future success.

This year is a decisive one for the company, with the first wave of products on the market that supports the companys ambitions for 2010.

"If there are any risks, I see them in execution," said Kagermann. "This is a long-term horizon. I hope we dont stumble, but we dont intend to stumble."


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