SAP Set to Expand NetWeaver Line

SAP AG this week is expected to roll out what it is calling the final piece of a set of service-oriented architecture (SOA) technologies built to support its business applications.

An SAP spokesman said that the new SOA-based NetWeaver products will be unveiled at the Sapphire 2007 user conference in Atlanta. However, he declined to provide details on the products to be introduced.

The NetWeaver line includes a portal, a business data warehouse and data cleansing tools. The technology lets users create workflows for linking SAP and non-SAP applications, the vendor claimed.

The spokesman said that SAP also plans to announce that it has extended agreements with third-party vendors, including Adobe Systems Inc., to expand NetWeaver support in their applications.

The companys governance, risk and compliance unit will also announce new products during the conference, he said.

Rodney Masney, global director of IT infrastructure services at Owens-Illinois Inc., a Perrysburg, Ohio-based maker of packaging materials, said there is a great deal of interest among customers in learning about SAPs SOA offerings, though his company has no plans to use them at this time.

Masney, also president of the Americas SAP Users Group, said that his company is currently rolling out SAPs mySAP 2004 ERP applications to its offices worldwide.

A potential downside to SAPs SOA efforts, Masney noted, is the abrupt departure last month of Shai Agassi, who was president of the SAP product and technology group and the architect of the companys SOA strategy. Were sad to see Shai go, said Masney. He was a man of tremendous vision and breadth and depth, and a key to SAPs overall Net­Weaver platform strategy.

The SAP spokesman contended that Agassis departure wont affect the companys strategy and that the SOA team continues to execute Agassis strategy.

David Dobrin, an analyst at B2B Analysts Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., said that SAP also needs to show users that it intends to focus less on its competition with rival Oracle Corp. and more on building better products for its users.

The vendor should work to develop lighter, more flexible applications with Web 2.0 interfaces that are attractive to both business users and consumers, he said.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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