Sapphire conference to focus on operations saving

SAP will use its Sapphire conference in New Orleans next week to tell IT directors that it can help them reduce IT operational...

SAP will use its Sapphire conference in New Orleans next week to tell IT directors that it can help them reduce IT operational costs so they can spend more on crucial innovation and ensure sustained business growth.

Company chairman and chief executive officer Henning Kagermann will open the conference with his opening keynote, entitled Growth through innovation.

"Henning will talk about how IT departments can create new opportunities by shifting some of the costs associated with operating systems to the innovation side of their balance sheet," said SAP spokesman Bill Wohl.

"This means that if we can continue to help companies lower the cost of operating their IT systems by doing things better, cheaper and faster, they will be able to use these savings to fund new IT projects to drive innovation and support their growth strategies."

Several new SAP products, particularly the NetWeaver integration platform, are designed to help companies achieve this shift in cost, said Wohl.

One area of focus at Sapphire will be the move of many customers from a client-server R/3 environment to a services-based enterprise services architecture, whereby the company's new NetWeaver platform "is the enabling technology that we are selling to get them there".

In March, SAP announced the latest version of its new integration platform, NetWeaver 4.0, which offers several enhancements around the business intelligence, portal and enterprise application integration portions of the software system. Although the company does not plan any NetWeaver announcements at Sapphire, it will present examples of how the technology is being adopted by users.

Another area of focus will be the migration of SAP's aging flagship ERP product R/3 to its new mySAP ERP, which incorporates NetWeaver.

"The vast majority of our R/3 customers who are looking to upgrade are considering doing so primarily because of what comes with NetWeaver," Wohl said.

SAP is also offering customers a financial incentive to make the move - discounts of up to 75% against the cost of their R/3 software licence.  

At Sapphire, SAP will also announce industry-based software applications targeting vertical markets, such as the public sector. One of the announcements will be for a product which deals with defence and security.

The company will also have announcements targeting horizontal markets, such as CRM and RFID (radio frequency identification).

John Blau writes for IDG News Service

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