SAP rolls out new ERP version

German business software vendor SAP AG has begun shipping the latest version of its flagship ERP (enterprise resource planning) software, my SAP ERP Edition 2004, one month ahead of schedule, it announced Thursday.

SAP executives will be meeting customers in 100 cities around the world to discuss its new ERP product and NetWeaver application and integration platform, the company said during a news conference at the Cebit trade show in Hanover, Germany.

The Walldorf, Germany, software company will also show customers the planned roadmap for its new Business Process Platform, to be based on the NetWeaver platform, according to SAP Chief Executive Officer Henning Kagermann. SAP plans to have all its applications running on the platform by 2007, he said.

The new technology, Kagermann said, will lead to an “industrialization of the software industry.”

At Cebit, SAP also announced a strategic partnership with Intel Corp. aimed at making RFID (radio frequency identification) technology easier for businesses to deploy.

One of the goals of their joint effort is to help companies integrate RFID data directly into backend systems and business processes.

The collaboration also aims to enable companies to combine “nonintelligent” with “intelligent” data capture devices. In nonintelligent data capture devices, data viability is analyzed at the software level. In intelligent data capture devices, this capability is contained within the hardware.

“There is still a lot of debate about standards for RFID technology, and this is holding back demand somewhat,” Kagermann said. “But once the standards issue is resolved, then the market is really going to take off.”

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