SAP drives to the

No one has ever accused Las Vegas of being subtle. So the recent SAP Sapphire keynote address – with blasting rock music, monster video screens and an Elvis impersonator – fit right in.

Hasso Plattner, co-chairman and CEO of SAP AG, outlined a corporate vision of the company moving full force to the world of, where all is integrated, interactive and networked. is an amalgam of business-to-business marketplaces, role-based portals, business applications and application hosting services.

“It is not just a technological change, it is a business change,” Plattner told the audience. “I think this is enough fuel for a revolution in our business.”

For SAP, the move to is viewed as an even greater change in structure and functionality than the move from R2 to R3. Plattner envisions a corporate world where the location of actual software driving a company is neither known nor material to success.

“We won’t know exactly where the software is located,” he said. He added that it all comes down to interoperability. If everything works with a significant portion of software sitting outside traditional enterprise applications, then there is no problem, Plattner said.

Solutions, though, will require partnerships.

“It is obvious that not one single company can cover it all.” Collaborative engineering efforts are required.

SAP and commerce one

But the big announcement was the joint venture between SAP

and Commerce One to deliver an e-business solution for the Internet economy. The goal is to create a one-stop shop for a range of e-business marketplace services.

“We have very complementary strategies going to market,” said Mark Hoffman, CEO of Pleasanton, Calif.-based Commerce One. “It is the customers who are going to win in the end.” Commerce One brings to the table its Global Trading Web, a business-to-business e-trading community, and its content engines. SAP, on the other hand, arrives with its considerable technology and applications, not to mention more than 10,000 global customers.

Kevin Restivo, software analyst with IDC Canada in Toronto, said the Sapphire conference was a strategically-important symposium for SAP.

“They are filling some very important holes in their product line-up, specifically the digital market place software and e-procurement software for digital exchanges,” he said, noting the SAP/Commerce One deal is good for both companies.

“It sounds clich