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SAP Summit '06: enhancing mySAP ERP

At its analyst summit, SAP announced the availability of the first enhancement package for mySAP ERP 2005 and outlined a plan for future upgrades.

LAS VEGAS -- At its fourth annual analyst summit, SAP announced the availability of the first enhancement package for mySAP ERP and laid out a plan for further package deliveries in the future.

The enhancement package released this week addresses mySAP ERP Human Capital Management, mySAP ERP Financials and the retail and manufacturing industries. Human Capital Management enhancements include service-level agreements monitoring and analytics for employee interaction. Improved credit and collection management is the main thrust of the financials enhancements, including credit report monitoring, collections management analytics and enterprise services to integrate external credit information providers.

SAP has also integrated the point-of-sale and pricing optimization of recent acquisitions Triversity and Khimetric, respectively, into mySAP ERP 2005 for the retail industry. Manufacturing additions to the ERP suite include manufacturing execution systems (MES), manufacturing work instructions and quality management.

Shai Agassi, president of SAP's product and technology group, said the company wants to "create an environment by which we can release enhancement packages -- with themes -- into the market every six months and the customers adopt them optionally at their pace."

Each enhancement package is a grouping of enterprise services, all of which are included in the standard SAP license and maintenance fees. By having each package address three or four main "themes," SAP aims to give customers the ability to look at a product roadmap and more easily decide which packages look interesting. Since the enhancements are delivered using the company's Switch Framework, customers can cherry-pick the ones they want to implement and ignore ones they don't.

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The company's roadmap shows roughly two enhancement package releases per year through at least 2008, ahead of the major ERP "core" release slated for 2010. Future enhancement package themes will include the service and trading industries in 2007 and "discrete" and "process" industries in 2008. Functional enhancements in future packages will include order to cash, procedure to pay and financial shared services.

Could this model -- providing continuous updates to a stable core product -- be the wave of the future at SAP?

"This is not just ERP," Agassi said. "We are going to stabilize the cores, one after the other, for the rest of the suite." He specifically mentioned CRM and SRM as near-future possibilities.

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