SAP Announces Upgrades to Mid-Market Suite

At CeBIT, the company says it's not delaying its release of A1S on demand.

SAP AG announced March 15 at CeBIT another sweeping set of initiatives around its mid-market software, including service-oriented architecture versions of its SAP All-in-One suite released by partners, and the development of a Governance Risk and Compliance network and GRC Executive Advisory Council.

But SAP is not delaying A1S, its most important mid-market release this year, according to a company spokesperson.

"We are on track with the timeline for delivery and have introduced the product to initial customers and partners for market validation," said Jim Devers, an SAP spokesperson, in an e-mail. "We have not changed plans for the delivery of the product to market."

According to a media reports, SAP would delay the launch of A1S—purportedly SAPs answer to ERP on demand; the company has released precious few actual details—by at least a quarter.

Rather, according to Devers, SAP plans to release A1S in a phased rollout with more information coming on the suite in the second quarter.

SAP has already introduced the suite to a group of partners and customers who are testing the software and the delivery model—given its a new one for the company—and providing feedback. The suite is expected to be available by the end of 2007, or in the first quarter of 2008.

For now, SAP is focusing publicly on its existing mid-market suite, SAP All-in-One.

At the giant IT conference CeBIT, in Hanover, Germany, the company announced more than 80 new additions to its portfolio of qualified SAP All-in-One industry solutions, which span the gamut in functionality from CRM (customer relationship management) to business intelligence add-ons, with deep vertical functionality.

SAPs GRC ecosystem—a group of partners that add on and implement SAPs GRC suite of products—includes Cisco, Deloitte, Protiviti, TechniData and VitalSpring.

/zimages/2/28571.gifTo read more about SAPs GRC suite, click here.

The intent of the group is to develop industry-specific GRC applications for health care, chemicals, manufacturing and environmental process markets.

At the same time the new GRC Executive Advisory Council has been implemented to bring together executives from both customer and partner groups to collaborate on strategies, solutions and best practices around governance, risk and compliance—an area that has grown in importance as companies face an increasing list of mandates and regulations.

The two efforts—a GRC ecosystem and advisory committee—converge around software and best practices for customers.

For example, SAP will combine Ciscos Service Oriented Network Architecture and its SAP software for GRC so users can leverage access and identity intelligence capabilities to detect risk, officials said.

TechniData and VitalSpring have tapped SAPs integration platform, NetWeaver, along with its GRC applications to build industry focused applications.

Deloitte and Protiviti have created dedicated services and practices around SAPs GRC software.

In a separate release at CeBIT, SAP announced enhancement packages for its Business One suite, geared toward smaller businesses.

The packages—a compilation of functionality, best practice tools and maintenance updates—are really geared toward taking the stress out of major upgrades, a move SAP has made with its enterprise software as well.

In 2006 the company announced that it would keep its mySAP ERP core stable until 2010, and would release enhancement packs regularly to keep users current with new technology, without requiring a major upgrade to a new release.

The enhancement packages for Business One will be available as part of customers standard maintenance contracts.

"This new approach to enhancement delivery denotes SAP Business One as the platform for future business innovation, while allowing us to respond faster to our customer and partner requests," said Gadi Shamia, senior vice president of Solutions Management, Small Business Solutions, at SAP, in Walldorf, Germany.

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