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SAP melds enterprise search with business accelerator

SAP showcased new enterprise search capabilities, but users say more information is needed before enterprise search would be widely deployed.

SAP has unveiled plans to introduce an enterprise search tool called Argo, which will use the technology behind its new Business Intelligence Accelerator appliance to broaden the search queries of end users.

In June, SearchSAP.com was the first to report about SAP's Argo enterprise search developments, when SAP was readying...

the beta version of Argo.

SAP executives said this week that the primary target for the new product will be the development community. The new feature promises to leverage the speed gains from BI Accelerator announced earlier this year, producing even faster results.

"This really is all about delivering business context to the daily work," said Kevin Fliess, SAP's vice president of emerging solutions.

Fliess said a recent survey conducted by the independent economics think tank McKinsey Global Institute found that an IT worker spent about 40% of his time on searches, 40% on coordination and just 20% on value add. By cutting down the time spent searching, more time can be spent on value add, Fliess said.

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Attendees at the SAP TechEd conference said the search capabilities and Business Intelligence Accelerator need to mature before being more broadly deployed across the enterprise.

Jeff Schreiber, the ERP technical team leader at Schaumburg, Ill.-based Abraxis BioScience Corp., said he wants SAP to better explain how the search features work in real life before he jumps on board. A white paper describing the functional requirements and best practices would be helpful, he said.

"It's an interesting product and sounds useful," Schreiber said. "But we're going to wait until next year before we explore it further."

The new search tool will tap structured and unstructured data in SAP. Future plans call for adding support for non-SAP data sources. The basic idea is a unified UI search that can reach across the enterprise with a minimum of hassle, Fliess said. A search box will be supported in a variety of interfaces for SAP end users, from a traditional Google-like, browser-based search to a search-capable desktop widget.

The structure enables workers to pull information as needed, with preferences and assumptions making immediately available the business processes related to the search results.

Enterprise search fits snugly on top of the BI Accelerator, an appliance developed by Intel, HP and IBM. The appliance can be plugged into NetWeaver to speed high volumes of queries from end users of SAP NetWeaver BI.

The BI Accelerator is currently pre-installed on Blade servers, and Enterprise Search will also be available pre-installed, said Nimish Mehta, Sr., vice president of SAP enterprise information management.

"We're going very long on the notion of integration," Mehta said.

The beta version of Enterprise Search is available as a free download at SDN.com, the SAP developer network Web site. Commercial availability is scheduled for 2007. SAP has not disclosed pricing.

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