SAP brings ERP to war room operations

A new technology is giving military operatives a morale boost.

SAP AG claims that with its latest command and control systems soldiers are assured of continuous contact with their command centre allowing them to carry out their mission effectively.

Working in online mode via secure Internet and satellite connections, the company creates a distributed, logically integrated network. This facilitates transfer of vital information between enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and war room operations, a company statement said Tuesday.

The deployment will advance the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)’s efforts to improve net-centric military capabilities, the statement said.

Net-centric warfare enhances the way changes in military operations are conducted within NATO, said David Lincourt, director, global field support, SAP for Defence & Security, SAP Canada Inc. “Today’s operations are not conducted in isolation – various coalition members, military and civilian agencies need to collaborate even more than before,” he said.

Net-centric warfare allows networked coalition members to share information digitally, so better and timelier decisions can be made, he said.

SAP believes integration technology is indispensable for transferring required information for deploying, operating and supporting military forces in net-centric warfare.

“Within a coalition operation, military and civil-agencies (must) provide responsive and effective logistics,” Lincourt said. “Logistic data availability is contained within multiple systems maintained by the military and civilian agencies across the coalition.”

He said data access should involve combining information on personnel, finances, supplies and maintenance into a single integrated picture. The commonly used term for this consolidation is Total Resource Visibility, Lincourt said.

The system was put to the test recently during the Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (CWID), an exercise conducted by the Allied Command Transformation. Eighteen nations and agencies took part.

“Participation of SAP as the first ERP provider in CWID demonstrates the benefits our forces can achieve by seamlessly integrating command and control systems with the resource information,” said Lieutenant General Ulrich Wolf, director of NATO CIS Services Agency. “Total Resource Visibility is crucial for NATO operations and the test results reveal we can support our forces with critical information dedicated to their mission.”

An integrated technology approach works well because it relies on interoperability standards to facilitate information exchange across the coalition, without imposing any specific underlying applications, Lincourt said.

Conducted in Lillehammer, Norway, the tests aimed at validating and improving the interoperability of NATO, national and partner command and control (C2) systems, according to NATO’s Web site.

Data was transferred automatically between an intermittently connected offshore frigate, several land-based C2 systems and the central SAP instance at the command centre. Automatic data transfer increased operational effectiveness and efficiency, the statement said.

Functionality based on the CWID tests will be part of the next version of SAP for Defence & Security slated for market release in Q4 2005, the company statement said.

SAP has delivered solutions to meet the requirements of defence organizations around the world, including 14 NATO member countries.

Related links:

Five phases of an ERP implementation

SAP rolls out new ERP version

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