SAP plans to highlight an apparent increase in NetWeaver adoption as well as its efforts to boost development among independent software vendors (ISVs) at its annual Sapphire user conference next week.
The event, which is being held in conjunction with the Americas' SAP User's Group (ASUG) conference May 16-18, in Orlando, Fla., is expected to draw thousands of IT personnel. It is the first time SAP and ASUG are holding their conferences in the same location.
"We feel like SAP is in an advantageous position," said SAP spokesman Bill Wohl. "We've matured our platform strategy to the point that we've been talking actively with ISVs to bring the platform to the next level."
Wohl said NetWeaver adoption has been rising as customers are in the process of product extensions, which incorporate the platform. SAP's Enterprise Services Architecture strategy, which lays out a roadmap for the software vendor to services-enable its entire software portfolio, is well underway and on schedule, Wohl said.
"The adoption of NetWeaver is a clear sign that the market is moving toward service oriented architectures," Wohl said. "We think we're well ahead of our peers."
By bringing together ASUG and Sapphire, Wohl said it will allow c-level executives and more technical IT personnel to mingle and network. The move also was a financial decision, allowing SAP and ASUG to share a common vendor floor.
Among the announcements planned at the three-day event, is an expansion of SAP CRM on-demand which will include marketing features in addition to the sales automation piece that was launched in February. Wohl said the marketing software is part of the planned quarterly release for the on-demand portfolio and will include enhancements to the sales automation module.
SAP also said Friday that it plans to announce new maintenance and support options for Siebel Systems customers through its subsidiary, TomorrowNow. In January, Oracle completed its $5.85 billion purchase of Siebel Systems, which develops CRM software. SAP acquired TomorrowNow to bolster its Safe Passage program, in an effort to draw customers away from rival Oracle. TomorrowNow currently performs SAP implementation services for PeopleSoft and JD Edwards customers.
SAP will also announce additional partnership agreements with key vendors in the ecosystem space to combine SAP software with infrastructure, Wohl said. Over the last year, SAP also has been working to build up the number of partner ISVs through a recruitment drive.
Eventually the majority of SAP's bread and butter will come from licensing composite applications built by partner ISVs off the NetWeaver platform. So far, more than 1,000 companies are considered partner ISVs and the number is growing, Wohl said.
Partnerships with Hewlett Packard and IBM will also be highlighted this week. IBM received an endorsement from SAP for its DB2 database management system (DBMS) in the midmarket.
Big Blue's DB2 DBMS code-named "Viper" is due out this summer and comes pre-configured for SAP applications, said Bernie Spang, IBM's director of data server marketing. At the Sapphire '05 conference, SAP and IBM announced the SAP optimized database server and hopes an endorsement this year will help reduce the number of future deployments of SAP on Oracle 10g.
Meanwhile, HP said its printing portfolio is being embedded into NetWeaver under a deal inked by the two vendors. HP is also highlighting its adaptive computing capabilities aimed at large SAP customers as well as two new customer centers which will be used to showcase SAP on HP products.
Located in Atlanta and Houston, the $4 million customer centers will allow SAP users to develop a proof of plan concept from a design build perspective, said Dave Parsons, vice president of industry solutions at HP.
"We'll be providing an environment for our customers to understand, implement, and internalize through a number of partners and peripheral providers," Parsons said.