ERP software giant SAP will soon make its entry into the Internet portal space with a Yahoo-like site dubbed MySAP, according to sources familiar with the project.
The vendor is expected to announce its plans at SAPphire in Nice, France, next week.
MySAP is intended to lure SAP's existing ERP application customers, and potential customers, to a public Web site that offers free or cheap information and services, the official said.
The site will likely roll out in phases later this year, starting with Web content, which is relatively easy to provide, said Harry Tse, a senior analyst at the Yankee Group. SAP may leverage partnerships it has with content providers such as Dun & Bradstreet and ACNielsen, among others.
MySAP will be similar to an unrelated, existing site, at [ital]www.VerticalNet.com, the official added.
VerticalNet offers news, sales leads, job listings, e-commerce services such as travel planning and supplier directories, and chat forums for technical workers in industries such as chemicals, paper, semiconductors, food and beverages, and other manufacturing-intensive fields.
SAP's announcement follows similar moves by arch-rival PeopleSoft. The vendor unveiled its PSBN, the PeopleSoft Business Network, last November, and formed a partnership with Microsoft in March this year.
"The market is really evolving toward a mix of software and services - not just applications, but information," said Josh Greenbaum, a principal at Enterprise Applications Consulting in the US.
Web portals such as Yahoo, Excite, or Netcenter could make ERP suites irrelevant unless ERP vendors reinvent themselves, Greenbaum said.
SAP's goal with this portal is to win more customers by overcoming the stereotype that SAP is hard to use, especially since it began pushing self-service EnjoySAP interfaces that it hoped to extend to everyone in an organisation, the official said.
"SAP is finally getting its act together on the Internet. It's so far behind," the official said.