31 January 2002 German ebusiness software giant SAP has outlined plans to move aggressively into the collaborative applications market by selling application server software.
Co-CEO Hasso Plattner, speaking at the company’s Portals and Business Intelligence conference in Leipzig, Germany, said that SAP will set up a new division for the development and sale of application server and middleware technology.
This follows last week’s announcement that SAP will merge its portals and markets businesses into a single subsidiary, dedicated to “the rapid delivery of integration technologies and collaborative applications… through the use of open standards.” SAP will likely use the planned application development platform to build and manage integration between its own applications and rivals’ technology within these portals.
At the Leipzig conference, Plattner announced that it would no longer be necessary for organisations to go to middleware providers such as BEA Systems and IBM. Typically organisations would buy their business applications from SAP and its traditional competitors, such as Oracle, and integrate them with other systems using middleware. Now SAP plans to make itself a ‘one-stop shop’ for building collaborative applications.
According to analysts, the SAP customers that will benefit most from its move into application development will be those that require integration between the most recent SAP applications and older systems.
SAP is widely expected to emerge as the dominant vendor in the collaborative commerce sector due to its strong position among manufacturing companies, many of whom already use SAP software. But it will face stiff competition from rival ERP suppliers and other business applications vendors keen to expand into this burgeoning market.