SAP will next year provide enterprise software components over the internet in a bid to expand its customer base.
The company's development of web services will allow potential customers to integrate specific SAP applications into their existing business software without having to invest in a new IT infrastructure.
Called mySAP Technology, and expected to be fully available by the first quarter of next year, SAP has developed a Java-based infrastructure that includes an exchange and integration infrastructure, a web application server and portal infrastructure.
According to vice president of marketing Peter Graf the combination of all three elements of mySAP Technology will provide firms with a cost-effective method of getting the right enterprise applications for their business.
"This will help firms lower the cost of ownership by providing them with a means to easily replace parts of their existing infrastructure while maintaining functionality," he explained.
The move towards a web services model may tempt some of SAP's competitors' customers to migrate to SAP applications, said Graf, but he denied that they were taking on too many competitors by entering the application server market.
"IBM and i-Planet have done a great job but we've approached it from a different angle, concentrating on getting backbone transactions running well over an application server." he said.
The move was welcomed as a method of easing the integration of disparate applications, maintained Gary Barnett, senior analyst at Ovum. "There is still a lot of confusion about web services. Most of the interest is coming from how it will be used internally," he said.
SAP was keen to clear up confusion caused by reports that it was to drop support for Microsoft's .Net in favour Sun Microsystems' Sun-ONE. "We have used Java in the development work, but we will be technologically agnostic in regards to who we can interact with," said Graf.
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