Sapphire 2001: SAP touts five pillars and portals

ORLANDO - SAP is looking to its five pillars strategy and portals in particular as the wave of the future.

In the opening speech at Sapphire Orlando 2001, Hasso Plattner, co-chairman and chief executive officer of the German software giant, discussed the company's five pillars strategy and the promise of portal technology.

The five pillars of SAP's e-business strategy are portals, marketplaces, customer relationship management, supply chain management and product lifecycle management, he said. Product lifecycle management begins the cycle to bring the product to market, which is integrated with the supply chain, which in turn is integrated with customer relationship management to keep customers satisfied, said Plattner.

The portals and marketplaces bring it all together, he said, with the portals allowing customers, partners and employees to access the supply chain information, as well as access other applications that are key to them. It is role-based, meaning that each person who accesses the portal receives the applications they need, he said.

Portals are part of SAP's e-business strategy and allow SAP to integrate their and other applications in one place for easy access via the Web. Portals are Web-based gateways for accessing applications and essential business data and more. The SAP focus for portals is as an interface that leads to underlying applications.

Portals, in the next three to five years, are going to be a technology trend, said Ray Lane, former chief executive officer of Oracle Corp., who made a surprise appearance via satellite at this morning's session.

He said the five pillars focus will only strengthen SAP's product set.

Attendees said portals are important

Those attending the conference said they were interested in what Plattner had to say about portals.

Barbara Grimes, project manager at International Paper, said for a company that is an SAP customer and ramping up its SAP systems, the portals and the portal capabilities are impressive.

"The ability to have the information at your fingertips allows us to respond to customers in a quicker fashion, which is important to customers," Grimes said.

Sandy Raman, director at Johnson & Johnson, said he was also interested in portals.

Open architecture placed on portals is especially important, Raman said. The Internet has made the information circle regarding products and shipments larger, and many of a company's customers are Internet-savvy, he said. Portals and marketplaces allow better access to systems.

"Portals and marketplaces are the way of the future," Raman said.

Compaq Computer Corp. chief executive officer Mike Cappellas said today's portals, especially those from SAP, are the fourth tier in architecture. Part of having a mobile workforce is to be able to access anything, anytime, he said while demonstrating via a Web browser and an iPaq handheld computer. The portals allow employees, customers and partners to access the information with an ordinary browser on the front end, he said.

MORE INFORMATION ON THIS TOPIC:

Portal technology is explained at this Best SAP Web Links site: portals

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