Simple PC-like interfaces and integrated reporting capabilities are among the features of a new version of SAP’s All-in-One business software targeted at midsize companies, the business software maker said Tuesday.
The new version is a scaled-down version of the company’s latest ERP application, mySAP ERP 2005, which includes its road map for enterprise service-oriented architecture (SOA).
Usability was a top priority in the development of the new All-in-One for small and midsize enterprises (SMEs), according to Michael Schmitt, senior vice president of SME at SAP.
Key tasks are positioned on one screen to provide a quick overview, and users are guided intuitively to other screens, according to Schmitt. The new interfaces provide role-based access to relevant information, he said.
“In a company, you have different roles. Based on these roles and mixed with industry knowledge, you establish a set of functions and things people have to do in their jobs. So the new version of All-in-One allows you to put all the key tasks for a specific role, or job, on one screen instead of multiple screens,” Schmitt said.
The PC-like interfaces and simplified navigation are enabled by NetWeaver, SAP’s integration platform that also serves as a key component of its SOA platform.
Another priority for the new SOA-based All-in-One was to provide greater system architecture flexibility in coping with changing business processes, according to Schmitt.
“Our customers in the midmarket have to deal constantly with change and need to adapt their business processes—quickly and easily—to handle their growing business, or even their shrinking business, to remain competitive,” he said. “These changes require changes in the underlying system architecture, which we are able to make because of SOA and the flexibility it provides.”
An additional feature is integrated CRM functionality, according to Schmitt. SAP has taken its enterprise CRM offering, scaled it down to meet the needs of midsize companies and integrated the functionality directly into the product.
In addition, the new version offers improved reporting capabilities, offering a comprehensive view of business operations by accessing information directly from all business processes. The reporting capabilities will enable greater flexibility in analyzing data and creating standard and ad hoc reports integrated with Microsoft’s Excel.
Initially, the new All-in-One version will offer 20 “Best Practice” offerings, which essentially are preconfigured applications for specific industries, such as chemicals, according to Schmitt. By the end of the year, the company plans to offer 80.
Customers and SAP partners can take the Best Practice offerings and add additional “micro-vertical” capabilities specific to their business, according to Schmitt. An example of a micro-vertical could be a beverage application based on the consumer goods Best Practice offering.
SAP will use its network of newly established SME Solution Centers to help partners develop micro-vertical systems, according to Schmitt. The company will work with channel partners to accelerate delivery of the new All-on-One product to customers.
-John Blau, IDG News Service (Dusseldorf Bureau)
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