Integration among its own products and with other vendors' applications will be the theme of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software vendor SAP's TechEd '98 show this week in the US.
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). It will also outline its product direction in systems management, sources said.
The spotlight will be on Madrid, a new integration tool developed by SAP and middleware vendor Visual Edge, which will allow R/3 sites to tap a wide range of enterprise applications and data sources as native R/3 information. This will let organisations 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).
Other TechEd topics include SAP's plans to use XML, which could boost functionality in areas such as supply-chain planning, sales-force automation, financials, and manufacturing, officials said.
SAP officials will also talk about new features in Release 4.0 of R/3, such as LiveCache, SAP's in-memory object management buffer, which will anchor SAP's Advanced Planner and Optimizer forecasting application. They will also discuss the Business Information Warehouse, due for general availability early this month, and give previews of Release 4.5.