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The road to Orlando, part one

The Web site for SAPPHIRE 2001 Orlando is up, and SAP AG and users are gearing up for the e-business conference,...

just a hop, skip and a jump away from the happiest place on earth. SAP AG expects no less than the best in e-business to converge for its user conference in Orlando, Fla., June 12-15.

The company plans for experts on supply chain management, customer relationship management (CRM), e-marketplaces and enterprise portals to share their knowledge. SAP also anticipates e-business strategists who understand productivity and bottom-line results to attend.

"SAP chooses events to announce major developments and major new initiatives," said Derek Prior, SAP research director, Gartner Group Europe.

This year, SAPPHIRE will feature information, product demos and meet-the-expert discussions, along with other presentations designed for users planning to implement e-business software or develop new strategies for their companies.

"Last year, SAP used the U.S. (SAPPHIRE conference) to announce the Commerce One partnership," Prior said.

There are very few differences between the European SAPPHIRE show and the North American version, according to Prior. Generally, the European conference focuses on SAP's European initiatives, while the North American show focuses on SAP's North American endeavors, he said.

Additionally, the European conference may attract more savvy users simply because such a large portion of SAP's user base is in Europe, Prior said.

This year, SAP has identified four key areas of its mySAP.com e-business platform to showcase. CRM, one area of focus, can help companies increase sales and profitability. Supply chain management enables collaborative inter-enterprise supply chains that lower costs, reduce inventory, improve customer service and drive profits. The third area, enterprise portals, assists users in easily accessing the information, applications and services relevant to them at the time. Lastly, e-marketplaces use the Internet to find new business opportunities and create collaborative e-commerce communities.

"One of the key parts of the mySAP.com Internet strategy is mySAP's workplace enterprise portal," Prior said. "This is a very appealing product to customers. It opens up access to SAP applications to a whole new audience."

SAP customers range from the highly technical to old-fashioned brick and mortar companies. These companies include Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD), Chevron Corp., Colgate Palmolive Co., CompUSA, Deutsche Telekom AG, Eastman Chemical, Fiat SPA, The Gillette Co., Microsoft Corp., Minolta Co. Ltd., Mott's, Philip Morris, Security National Servicing Co., Siemens AG, Sony Corp., Statoil, Telecom Italia SPA and Volkswagen AG. In addition, dot-com companies, such as Barnesandnoble.com and Westell Technology, also appear on SAP's customer roster.

SearchSAP.com will follow this road to Orlando in the coming months, intently reporting on what can be expected from SAPPHIRE 2001. Expect more articles, analyst interviews and information on what SAP calls "the main event of the new, new economy."

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