The announcement, which was accompanied by the launch of SAP's Enterprise Services Architecture, marks the debut of a new backbone for SAP's business applications.
Philip Carnelly, an analyst with Ovum, gave a conditional welcome to the announcement. "In theory it will make things easier, allowing integration of client-server SAP with newer SAP and applications from other suppliers. In practice the drawbacks of a heterogeneous environment will remain," he said.
"Matching the business model across applications will still be a challenge, but communicating between them will be easier," he added.
The application framework built into Netweaver will allow the creation of new cross-functional business process applications using its tools, frameworks, rules and methodologies.
A new master data management feature offers a standardised method of integrating data from widespread environments.
Additional capabilities include: web and mobile access; enterprise portal access; real time and asynchronous collaboration; extraction and analysis of structured information using business intelligence; unification of unstructured information via knowledge management; and XML-based integration broking between processes and applications.