Compaq has joined the stampede to offer expertise in enterprise resource planning (ERP), with a new subscription based Web advisory service called Active Answers.
Hugh Jenkins, Compaq UK's enterprise group products manager, said fuller details will be announced on 22 June, but the objective is to offer "Compaq's hands-on experience of packaged solutions to resellers, ISVs, systems integrators and customers".
Jenkins emphasised that Active Answers will cover much more than ERP, and he expects the service to explore areas such as ecommerce, Web servers, firewall servers, Notes and clustered solutions. However, it is primarily targeted at actual or potential users of ERP products such as SAP and Baan, especially in the SME sector.
SAP's R/3 software will be one of the first topics featured in the online library and information will cover "sizing, configuration and tuning, all based on Compaq's experience as an SAP partner".
Future modules will include technologies from Microsoft, Oracle and Baan.
"If we can prevent people going over the same ground and making the same mistakes, we can get systems sized, deployed and implemented more accurately and quickly, " said Jenkins.
He denied there is a conflict of interests between Active Answers and Compaq's independent consultancy partners, or even closer to home, the newly acquired Digital services arm.
"It's another service, a complementary one. Active Answers maps out the lie of the land in advance of any project implementation. Customers and partners can establish more easily which areas of a deployment they can handle easily and which areas may need additional input," said Jenkins. "It's designed to be helpful throughout a project, from planning and budgeting right through to methodologies, technical knowhow and expertise."
Compaq will announce the URL address and annual subscription rates next week.
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