SAP doesn

BOSTON – SAP AG doesn’t want to be building platforms, instead it wants to be “in the business of having technologies to help build businesses,” according to a company exec.

Marge Breya, executive vice-president and general manager of SAP’s intelligence platform group, told a group of media at the SAP Influencer Summit 2009 this week, that given the company’s experience, it has acquired a plethora of knowledge about organizations, their business processes and end user roles.  

Breya said the Germany-based company can leverage that knowledge to “start serving up to a user about what he or she should know about an organization” instead of making the user seek out the information. The goal is about five years out, said Breya.

The theme of this year’s SAP Influencer Summit was clarity to reflect the new business environment and reality in which SAP, its customers and partners toil in today. Breya was part of a panel discussion about top trends of 2010 affecting SAP.

Breya said, in the meantime, customers can expect more offerings next year from SAP that help create that “informed executive” through on-demand business intelligence for real-time decision making and collaborative technologies.

The signs pointing to on-demand technologies are becoming increasingly clear but that doesn’t mean the software suite is going extinct, said Peter Lorenz, SAP’s head of small-to-medium enterprise (SME) solutions. Although SAP said it wants move away from its ERP-only image and expand into the SME market, those smaller customers still want “a solid ERP backbone” because they too have complex requirements, said Lorenz.

SAP has made investments to support an on-demand approach by ensuring it can scale to support users in the cloud, said Lorenz. The company has focused on how to “scale in” by focusing on service quality that users expect. It has also focused on how to “scale out” by creating partner programs that push on-demand offerings, building a good user interface and technology.

SAP said it would focus on making some of its line of business applications on-demand. Supply chain is one such vertical because approaches like collaboration are required in that arena but it would be difficult to do that in an on-premise model, said John Wookey, SAP executive vice-president of large enterprise on-demand.

In recognition of customers wanting the flexibility to either deploy on-premise or on-demand, SAP is offering hybrid applications. Wookey said the company is still figuring out where customers draw the line between the two choices. “The control aspect is still something customers think about,” he said.

SAP identified three technology trends driving its offerings: on-demand, in-memory analytics and mobile devices.

IdaRose Sylvester, founder of analyst firm Silicon Valley Link, said that throughout 2009, SAP has done a good job demonstrating it understands some of the key trends impacting its customers’ business. “It’s clear the company completely understands the value and threat of trends such as social media, collaboration, tight budgets and a mobile workforce,” said Sylvester.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau

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