SAP, Lotus join to boost thin clients

SAP, Lotus join to boost thin clients

Seeking to capitalise on the need for easily distributed, lightweight front ends for enterprise resource planning (ERP) suites, Lotus Development is working with ERP vendors and third-party developers to wed Lotus' Java-based eSuite productivity applets to ERP applications, such as SAP R/3.

Lotus and its partners will highlight eSuite integration with ERP applications at Lotusphere in January, with a number of formal announcements, according to Brian Anderson, senior product manager for Java components at Lotus.

ESuite is Lotus' set of centrally managed Java applets, including word processing, mail, spreadsheet, charting, personal information manager, and presentation graphics. Lotus also packages a developers kit for custom eSuite applications.

No longer tethered exclusively to network computing platforms, the suite now runs on Windows PCs, making the front-end environment useful to a broader array of customers, according to analysts.

In September, Lotus, SAP, and their common partner Transaction Information Systems (TIS), demonstrated prototype configurations of eSuite working with SAP R/3 at the Sapphire conference.

The demonstration with SAP was a read/write connection to a time-sheet application, whereas TIS is currently developing a reporting application.

"Our strategy is to work with common third parties and ERP vendors," Anderson said.

PeopleSoft is also interested in integrating with Lotus eSuite, but is not yet ready to announce anything, officials said.

The push to integrate eSuite with ERP applications follows Lotus' well-established strategy of hooking the Notes/Domino environment and other key applications into as much of the back-end enterprise data store as possible, said Tim Sloane, an analyst at the Aberdeen Group, in Boston.

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