SAP to focus on integration at user show

Enterprise software giant SAP will use its annual Sapphire user conference this week to claim that going with a single vendor to...

Enterprise software giant SAP will use its annual Sapphire user conference this week to claim that going with a single vendor to link front-office applications to the back office delivers dramatic total cost of ownership savings.

The company is also set to announce that it is now second in the CRM market behind Siebel and has taken the top spot in the supply chain market.

Analysts expect the company to provide further details of its Web Application Server which, it was announced earlier this year, will be compatible with J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition).

The show will also see SAP explain its plans to roll out technology for small and medium-sized businesses that it obtained through its acquisition of TopManage Financial Solutions, an Israeli company that boasts financial, logistics, purchasing, analytical, and CRM solutions.

But SAP's main focus will be on the convergence of CRM, supply chain, and portals and the advantages of obtaining these applications from one vendor.

The software giant will announce an expansion of its global partnership with Deloitte Consulting for systems integration, marketing, sales, and consulting for CRM and supply chain, said Clive Weightman, a Deloitte partner.

"We're seeing the pendulum swing back to the power of integration," Weightman said. "You could always find another widget that would give you more functionality vs. the core ERP vendors, but the total cost of ownership is cheaper if you get it from one vendor. We want to get back to integration, and we want to get back to as close to real time as we can."

Meta Group analyst David Yockleson said SAP should not only focus on total cost of ownership but also on the productivity gains that can be made by using products from a single vendor for front- and back-office systems.

Cheryl Kingstone, an analyst with the Yankee Group, said SAP was fighting PeopleSoft for second place in the CRM market behind Siebel, with SAP expected to announce new support for mobile CRM.

"If your key requirement [for CRM] is to build off your ERP system, then SAP is fine," she said. "But what happens to companies that don't have a back-end system and just need a customer-facing solution? SAP is not the best solution for everyone. Best of breed will always be there."

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