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SAP kicks off yearlong, cross-country 'New, New Economy Tour'

SAP AG kicked off "The New, New Economy Tour" at the Internet and E-Business Conference and Exposition (iEB) in New York to demonstrate the nuances of its e-business application. A 53-foot long, truck-mounted exhibit will travel across the United States, stopping at various trade shows, media events and targeted lifestyle events, such as the Advil PGA Western Open in July, as well as SAP-sponsored gatherings, customer sites and customer-prospect sites.

The tour derives its name from SAP's global advertising campaign, which focuses on the realities facing companies operating in today's business environment, according to the SAP. These realities include the necessity of integrating technology into a company's business strategy in order to better serve its customers and generate profit.

The tour can only increase SAP's visibility in the United States, according to Derek Prior, SAP research director, Gartner Group Europe.

"At the moment, SAP has a number of strengths and weaknesses. One (of the weaknesses) is that marketing has let them down. In the world of e-business applications ... you have to be able to articulate your message, and you have to be able to differentiate yourself from broader-based competition," he said.

Prior, co-author of the February Gartner commentary, " Powerful Technology, but Poor Marketing," noted that Gartner has had many inquiries regarding the strategy. This is evidence of a lack of understanding as to what the product actually does and its value proposition, even among SAP's customer base, he said, which can be attributed to SAP's marketing prowess -- or lack thereof.

"As a German company, they're engineering-driven, with less marketing experience," Prior said regarding SAP's marketing prowess. "It's almost the opposite of North American software vendors, which are very marketing-thorough and less engineering (focused)."

Some of the stops the SAP tour bus has planned include the Americas SAP User Group Conference in Miami in May, SAPPHIRE U.S. 2001 in Orlando, Fla., in June, eCRM Chicago 2001 Conference and Exhibition in July, DCI's CRM Conference & Exposition in New York in August, SAP U.S. Grand Prix in Indianapolis in September and SAP TechEd in Los Angeles in November.

"Road shows ought to increase the profile (of SAP)," Prior said. "They have announced the sponsorship of Formula One and may get their logo more visible," he said. But what it really comes down to for the U.S. arm of SAP is a clear articulation of what the business benefits are in, he added.


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