SAP this week announced its Internet portal strategy but analysts believe there is little substance to it at present.
In his keynote presentation at Sapphire 99 in Nice, Hasso Plattner, SAP's co-chair announced mySAP.com, a portal strategy that includes product information, customer relationship management (CRM) features and Web based application hosting.
mySAP.com is an open marketplace portal where content is provided by Aspect, Grainger and Requisite. Third party services are provided by Backweb, Internet Travel Network, Tandata and Tumbleweed.
But financial and industry analysts are sceptical about SAP's ability to execute within a reasonable timeframe.
Recently, SAP came under fire for being late with its supply chain initiative and has very little to show in the CRM market.
Brian Skiba, analyst with Lehman Brothers said: "Hasso's not giving any detail. I think this is strategy on the fly."
David Clayton, analyst with Credit Suisse First Boston agreed: "You just can't get beneath the surface. I'm not sure there's anything of any substance there at all."
But Bruce Richardson, senior research director with Boston based AMR Research defended SAP's strategy. "Let's be clear, it's all about marketing at the moment. The fact there's nothing much doesn't matter today as long as they can build up mindshare," he said.
And that may be true. Barclays Bank, which is in the middle of its SAP R/3 rollout is not convinced the CRM market has enough to tempt it into making a quick decision.
"It's a developing market and I'm not so sure there's anything very good for our business today," said Paul Waring, head of SAP deployment at Barclays. What's more, the bank is taking a cautious view of Internet based trading: "It's very hard to see how the Internet will look say 10 years out at the moment," he said.
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