Integration among its own products and with other vendors' applications was the theme of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software vendor SAP's TechEd '98 show last week in Los Angeles.
SAP, already the largest ERP vendor, plans to extend the reach of its flagship R/3 suite across more business functions and to integrate with more types of applications by encouraging use of its proprietary Business APIs (BAPIs) and new technologies such as Extensible Markup Language (XML).
The spotlight was on Madrid, a new integration tool developed by SAP and middleware vendor Visual Edge in St Laurent, Quebec, that allows R/3 sites to tap a wide range of enterprise applications and data sources as native R/3 information.
This enables corporations to leverage R/3's reporting, analysis, and workflow tools across non-R/3 environments using third-party tools, according to Mike Foody, president of Visual Edge.
Madrid provides bidirectional integration with applications that are compliant with Component Object Model, CORBA, and Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB).
Also at TechEd, SAP highlighted R/3 plant-floor integration and, with partner IBM, demonstrated EJB.
Other TechEd topics included SAP's plans to use XML, boosting functionality in areas such as supply-chain planning, sales-force automation, financials, and manufacturing.
New features in Release 4.0 of R/3 were also discussed, including LiveCache, SAP's in-memory object management buffer, which will anchor SAP's Advanced Planner and Optimizer forecasting application.