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SAP, Accenture energize xApps

SAP and Accenture are tapping into oil and gas companies with a new xApp designed to help them manage massive amounts of data.

SAP and Accenture today announced a new addition to SAP's xApp family, the first composite application developed...

by SAP and a systems integrator.

Accenture and SAP jointly designed and developed the Integrated Exploration and Production application -- SAP xIEP -- for energy companies with complex, global oil and gas business processes.

The new xApp, one of 18 industry-specific applications that have been developed by SAP and its partners since SAP announced its xAPP initiative two years ago, is the first composite application built entirely on SAP's xApp framework, the company said. It also utilizes SAP's integration platform, NetWeaver, so that users don't have to be already running NetWeaver in order to leverage the technology stack for xIEP.

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The new offering, which was developed with the help of a customer advisory council led by representatives from global companies such as Shell Oil and Gas Co., is a way to bridge the gap between oil and gas executives in suits -- and the ones getting their hands dirty, SAP said.

"The geologists and the geophysicists who get the oil out of the ground are typically an untouched user base," said Robert Stephens, SAP's director of business development.

Now that SAP's composite application framework is "baked and ready to be delivered," Stephens predicted the development of xApps -- and the development of xApps with systems integrators such as Accenture -- would accelerate.

SAP, this year, tackled the issue of educating more of its partners and users about xApps technology. The company describes xApps as composite applications that "snap onto" exiting applications, and are able to pull data from those applications, regardless of platform of vendor.

"Composite applications are that next stop -- layered on top of enterprise management," said Peggy Kostial, a partner in Accenture's Energy industry group.

"They buffer the users by allowing them to only see the business process from the step they are working on," Kostial said. Composite applications make sense "anywhere you have an extremely complex process that you might not have been able to standardize on one application," she said.

Accenture had "hit the wall" when it came to delivering this sort of composite application, Kostial said, and the company needed a commercial partner in order to deliver what customers said they needed.

Kostial said she heard repeated requests for composite applications from customers who also said: "We don't want to build these ourselves."

The new XIEP, which was in development the last 10 months, will be priced according to an industry metric based on the number of barrels produced by a company.

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