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Top SAP stories of 2006

2006 was busy for SAP; this article reviews some of the top stories of the year.

It was a busy year for SAP. The company released SAP CRM On-Demand, Master Data Management (MDM) continued to capture...

the interest of organizations hoping to solve their data problems, and SAP jobs were, as always, a hot topic. Of course, the battle with Oracle raged on. To bring the year to a close, we look at some of 2006's top stories.

CRM On-Demand

SAP made a big splash in the CRM market with CRM On-Demand this past year.

It was a shift for SAP, which had held off offering Software as a Service despite the success of startups such as Salesforce.com. Once it introduced CRM Sales On-Demand, SAP didn't drag its feet, releasing service and marketing modules during the year while also adding some big-name customers.

The simplified pricing model attracted some of SAP's early customers, but there are other costs customers should be aware of.

SAP jobs

Every year brings changes that affect the SAP jobs market. This year was no different, with acquisitions, products and new focus areas presenting challenges and opportunities for the SAP job seeker. SAP knowledge and certification are still in demand, and job seekers are advised to keep their SAP skill sets updated.

Master Data Management

With more companies attempting to get their data in order, 2006 saw a continuing upward trend for Master Data Management (MDM). Making use of the technology it acquired from A2i, SAP had some big customer projects during the year. SAP still has to educate the market , however, and many companies still prefer independent vendors.

Business Process Management

With so many large vendors staking a claim in the market, Business Process Management (BPM) increasingly came under the spotlight in 2006. Companies such as SAP, Oracle, IBM and Microsoft all have their hats in the ring and, according to some, have a way to go to catch up with pure-play BPM vendors.

In 2006, NetWeaver adoption and increasing interest in service-enabled applications drove companies to look more closely at their business processes. That trend should continue.

As part of its BPM push, SAP announced the formation of a BPM Expert Community to help add new tools and functionality for business analysts.

SMB focus

SAP pledged in 2006 to increase its customer base to 100,000 by 2010, up from 35,000 in 2006. In order to do this, the company will focus on small and midsized businesses (SMBs).

Some think that SAP may eventually offer ERP via Software as a Service (SaaS).

Duet

SAP and Microsoft jointly released Duet in early May. The companies priced the software -- code-named "Mendocino" during development -- at $125 per desktop and initially aimed it at larger organizations.

SAP customers with hands-on Duet experience had generally positive results, but some had reservations about the software as it was first released. In November, SAP and Microsoft laid out an initial roadmap for coming releases.

Version 1.5 of Duet is due in the summer of 2007 and promises more languages and scenarios, increased customization, and more configuration tools.

SAP vs. Oracle

The past year saw these two heavyweights landing blow after blow with no clear knockout punch. Both companies have definite strengths, according to analysts and users.

More on the year in SAP
Review the top SAP stories of 2005 according to readers

Check out the SAP CRM Learning Guide

In 2006, Oracle further trumpeted Fusion, and SAP counter-punched with Safe Passage news of its own.

SAP may have lost ground to Oracle in some areas, but it still claimed its share of customer wins.

Oracle's acquisition spree is well documented, and January 2006 saw the official addition of San Mateo, Calif.-based Siebel Systems to the fold.

SAP also completed its share of acquisitions, buying Fremont, Calif.-based Virsa Systems Inc., a compliance software vendor, and completing the purchase of retail software vendor Khimetrics Inc., based in Scottsdale, Ariz., to name two.

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