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Gartner names “cool” SAP ecosystem vendors for 2012

From faster batch processing to managing custom ABAP code, Gartner gives its nod to a handful of “cool” -- but largely unknown -- ecosystem vendors that are making life easier for SAP customers.

For SAP customers experiencing pain and frustration managing their IT infrastructure, help is here -- thanks to a number of new and interesting SAP ecosystem partners, according to a new Gartner report.

In the latest installment of its annual Cool Vendor report, Gartner analysts call out a number of new and innovative applications that address recurring problems of increasingly complex SAP environments. Those challenges include the need for better batch processing, increased supply chain performance, mobilizing SAP BusinessWarehouse data, and managing custom ABAP code.

“Our goal was to put onto the radar screen of our clients and SAP customers some small vendors which [collectively] cover a broad range of recurring problems,” said Derek Prior, a Gartner analyst and co-author of the report.

“We’ve spoken to reference customers for each of these, so we know that the vendors and products are good ones,” he said. “These aren’t just companies that had a neat PowerPoint presentation. There’s a 90% chance you’ve never heard of most of them, but we think you should take a look.”

Basis Technologies: Batch processing for SAP ecosystems

Batch processing large quantities of data is something many companies struggle with, according to Prior.  “It can be a real performance killer.”

London-based Basis Technologies’ Mass Data Runtime tool, or MDR, gives SAP shops a way to dramatically increase the speed of batch processing programs on their systems by breaking single-threaded ABAP programs into smaller pieces, according to the Gartner report. This allows the workload to be scheduled to run in parallel across multiple SAP application servers.

Any SAP customer with long-running, single-threaded ABAP batch programs can benefit from the MDR tool, according to Gartner, especially companies with single global instances of SAP applications.

Llamasoft: Supply chain modeling and analytics

Llamasoft is a small Ann Arbor, Michigan-based SAP partner that specializes in supply chain modeling and analytics with its Supply Chain Guru software. Businesses can use it for niche inventory optimization, cost-to-serve analysis and segmentation beyond what’s possible with basic SAP BI, according to Gartner.

“Unlike other network design solutions, Supply Chain Guru doesn't restrict the type of questions a user may want to ask about his or her supply chain and enables an impressive level of flexibility, which in today's more unpredictable operating environments will increasingly become a key modeling aspect,” the report says.

Companies that aren’t yet performing advanced supply chain modeling likely won’t need the software, according to Gartner. Other businesses, especially large global SAP users, can benefit by using Llamasoft to fill “white spaces” in the SAP analytics portfolio in regard to supply chain performance.

Reboard: Mobile analytics

Companies looking for an easy way to mobilize data directly from SAP BusinessWarehouse (BW) may want to consider Reboard, a Stuttgart, Germany-based firm which provides users with attractive and easy-to-use dashboards.  

Reboard software connects to SAP BW InfoCube and queries through a server component to take advantage of user profiles and metadata definitions, according to Gartner. It can also securely mobilize variables, hierarchies, and cockpit comments without additional development. The software also connects to other data sources, including SAP BusinessObjects, IBM Cognos and Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services, Microsoft Excel and Google Analytics, allowing companies to get a more complete view of an organization.

Sitrion: SAP-Microsoft SharePoint integration

Based in Oldenburg, Germany, Sitrion focuses on giving users easy ways to integrate their SAP ERP with Microsoft SharePoint through the use of 60 different templates for processes such as expense entry, time sheet tracking, team calendar, and workflow approvals, according to Gartner. The software also comes with a strong development kit and strong mobile support. It also connects with SAP Gateway. The company has a strong relationship with SAP and Microsoft, despite the overlaps with SAP Duet Enterprise.

Business that are heavy users of SharePoint but need a light, simple tool to render SAP transactions in a SharePoint portal should consider using Sitrion, according to the report.  “IT leaders seeking an alternative to Duet Enterprise also should assess Sitrion,” Gartner states.

SmartShift: Managing ABAP custom code

Although most companies try to avoid custom code development, many still find it necessary to fill functional gaps and create custom interfaces, a reality that also brings with it a number of challenges, according to Gartner.

“Billions of lines of ABAP code in ‘Z programs’ (i.e., custom programs) on customers' SAP systems are still out there to cause problems in projects for upgrades, Unicode conversions, consolidations and application maintenance changes,” the report states.  Manually correcting and testing custom code is expensive and time consuming.   

Smartshift’s software, which is available in an on-premises as well as Software-as-a-Service model, automates more than 95% of the detection and correction of ABAP custom code issues, according to Gartner. SmartShift claims that companies using its tool can cut the time it spends on manual code correction by 60% and cut labor costs by 50%.

Custom ABAP code developers leery of trusting an automated tool for code remediation can demo the technology by uploading code into the Smartshift’s portal for a free initial analysis, along with fixed price quotes for other types of analysis.


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