SAP has announced three of the promised components of its business framework for R/3, its flagship ERP application.
At the Next Generation ERP conference in San Francisco this week, the software house showed off the three new components - Business Information Warehouse (BIW), which the company claims is the first pre-built data warehouse, Scope (Supply Chain Optimisation Planning and Execution), and a salesforce automation product.
All three are part of the SAP business framework, which will use business application programming interfaces (APIs) to integrate non-SAP solutions with R/3 and to relate R/3 functions directly to an organisational plan. The framework will eventually have 22 components.
The BIW provides ?off-the-shelf? data structures that are able to import external and internal data from SAP or ?absolutely any? non-SAP sources, according to the company. BIW can also be purchased with pre-built structures that are specific to certain vertical industries.
Mike Ellis, SAP?s UK product manager, said: "Potential customers normally have to build data warehousing structures themselves to suit their business. This brings them about 80 per cent there."
BIW will also convert information in real time through a BAPI link with the transactional systems. Most companies update their data warehouses weekly but, according to Ellis, ?certain industries, like retailers, need to see data on a daily or hourly basis".
The warehouse is being tested by two UK companies at the moment. The first customer shipment is scheduled for April with general availability in July.
Scope allows users to see the full supply chain in real time and check out the stock levels of participating customers and suppliers. Products are automatically reordered and the product also offers analysis tools for forecasting and planning.
The product also uses live cache technology, which automatically caches frequently used information using intelligence in the software - a new technology to SAP.
Ellis said: "We can?t disclose the technology as it is unique in the IT industry."
Scope will be gradually rolled out over the next 18 months.
The salesforce automation product, which is aimed at companies with mobile sales people, creates a link between portable computers and R/3 in order to enable online order taking. Like Scope, the component can provide a connection via the Internet or dial-up. The first shipment is expected by the end of the year.
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