Enterprise Apps


SAP Pushes Business Model Innovation With New BPM Tools

SAP announced Tuesday it will offer new business process and rules management capabilities for its NetWeaver service-oriented architecture platform.

NetWeaver Business Process Management and NetWeaver Business Rules Management will allow companies to build or change business processes and rules without coding.

The functionality reflects the integration of SAP’s acquisition last year of Yasu Technologies.

“Industry boundaries are blurring,” SAP CEO Henning Kagermann said during his keynote speech Tuesday at the company’s Sapphire conference for its customers. “Business model innovation is important — it’s more important than product innovation.”

A redesigned interface allows users to create a process, such as the selecting carriers for product shipment, and write rules for it — selecting the carrier with the lowest cost or best on-time performance, for example.

“We solved the efficiency flexibility dilemma, so you can now not only run your business efficiently, you can implement changes quickly,” Kagermann said.

The new tools allow users to change direction on the fly rather than tasking the IT department with writing new processes and waiting for the results, he added.

BlackBerry Deal Resonates

On the eve of Sapphire, May 2, SAP and Research In Motion announced they would partner to install SAP CRM as a native application on the BlackBerry.

The idea behind the deal is to encourage sales professionals, who by nature are both mobile and pressed for time, to use the CRM platform their managers rely on for monitoring their performance, said Rick Fleischman, director of CRM solutions marketing for SAP Labs, the company’s Palo Alto, Calif-based research and development lab.

“You almost don’t know you’re using our CRM system. You’re using the BlackBerry,” Fleischman told CRM Buyer.

The deal is a natural pairing, according to Jim Balsillie, RIM co-CEO. “What we learned is simple access to your information changes your relationship to that information.”

Kagermann said that SAP is not likely to place its CRM app natively on other devices, such as the iPhone.

Demand for On-Demand

SAP has been notable for its reluctance to embrace the on-demand model for the delivery of applications, despite its increasing popularity in the business application space, and the company’s executives continued to stick to their guns during the Sapphire conference.

The issue was renewed last week when SAP said during its quarterly earnings report that it would take its time rolling out Business ByDesign, pushing back its revenue goals for the software suite.

Though the company is not burning up the pavement with a strategy shift, Peter Graf, executive vice president of the product and technology group for SAP Labs, acknowledged that on-demand is something customers want — and SAP does plan to provide it.

“We think on-demand is a viable and important strategy,” Graf told CRM Buyer. “We’re just not religious about it.”

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