SAP is to extend its service oriented architecture strategy during 2007, with a suite of ERP products designed for small and medium sized companies.
Following the release of MySAP ERP 2005 earlier this year, the enterprise software company is to introduce a hosted service designed for businesses with less than 1,000 staff.
According to analyst firm AMR Research, SAP has decided to take a very different delivery approach, with the product only available on a hosted and managed basis. Each user will have its own separate copy and database running on a dedicated blade in a large server. The systems will be configured to match the users' needs, but modifications will not be allowed.
Jim Shepherd, senior vice-president, research at AMR, said making the product hosted should improve its quality.
"Hosted delivery offers a number of benefits for SAP. It will allow it to closely monitor the performance and characteristics of the software and quickly react to and fix functional or architectural problems that invariably arise with new products," he said.
It also provides a much faster feedback loop for development.With a typical in-house deployment, Shepherd said it could take months or even years to get software implemented, gather user feedback, make the software changes and get new releases deployed.
"With a hosted and managed environment, SAP hopes to be able to get faster and better feedback and dramatically shorten response time. In many cases, SAP expects to be able to introduce product improvements without any customer involvement or disruption," he said.
"If this process works as planned, it could mean that the new product will reach maturity much faster than has been possible before with a complex enterprise application."
Ciaran Rafferty, SME director at SAP, said, "SAP has a strong focus on the mid-market and has been developing a number of offerings to meet the diverse needs of mid-size enterprises. Our solutions will evolve over the next year to include compelling enhancements that leverage MySAP ERP 2005, enterprise service oriented architecture and best practices."
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