SAP put on its annual influencer summit this week. Here are a few quick highlights:
- SAP talked about how they would allow Business Suite customers to work "side by side" with Business ByDesign. Essentially, this would allow Business Suite customers to leverage services that are developed as part of the BBD effort
- SAP has a focus on expanding the usage of its applications beyond task users (I would call them professional users) to business users (employees and managers)
- SAP made a point of "process integrity" as a key benefit of its approach to service-oriented architecture. If you use services from SAP, they have made a point of making sure that there is process integrity built in (e.g., if I have a service called "Cancel Order", it makes sure that it updates all the modules impacted by the order cancellation)
- SAP showed the business process modeling environment within Business ByDesign which was pretty interesting. It did a nice job of integrating application configuration with process models (the configurations are shown with the process model and when the configuration changed, the process model changes based on the choice)
- One of the keys to SAP's strategy of adding functionality more quickly (and allowing customers to take it on more quickly) is Enhancement Packages. SAP is keeping the core ERP (version 6.0) application stable while using Enhancement Packages (EP) to add new functionality. These EPs operate on a Switch Framework that allows a customer to choose whether or not it wants to turn on that new functionality. SAP is releasing EPs twice per year (it has already released two).
- SAP provided some stats from surveys of their customer base. It indicated that 65% of R/3 4.7 customers that are doing an upgrade to ERP 6 are doing a technical upgrade, 25% are adding functionality (via EPs), and 5% are planning to use it as a full Business Process Platform (using ERP 6 and NetWeaver as the basis for delivering business processes enterprise-wide). It also indicated that 15% of the installed base is on ERP 6.