Sapphire '97: R/3 integration fuels product announcements
R/3-related plans from Intel, Sun, EMC, and others
Amid the countless database and hardware benchmarks released here this week for R/3 came the following announcements:
The Ready-to-Run R/3 program, a new initiative announced by SAP here Monday, is designed to eliminate the technical installation costs of R/3 for small- to medium-size businesses. Compaq said its offer will reduce installation times by between 20 to 25 days on average.
Utilizing SAP's recently announced Purchase Requisition System, the systems to be developed will integrate Aspect's SmartMRO catalog engine and Acquion's catalog content and supplier-buyer relationship management tools with R/3's back-office capabilities. It will allow users to purchase MRO items such as plant machinery parts, office supplies, and facility maintenance items such as light bulbs and air filters.
The purchase requisition will be an independent component of R/3 and work with R/3's Web-based Employee Self Service applications. It is due to ship by the end of the year.
Intel and SAP are working on optimizing R/3 for Intel's first IA-64 microprocessor, code-named Merced, and systems that will be built around the new 64-bit processor, when it becomes available in the next several years.
SAP expects its R/3 products to be certified on Merced-based IA-64 platforms from a large number of industry-leading system vendors, including Compaq, Hewlett-Packard Co., Sequent Computer Systems Inc. and Siemens-Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG, all of which have previously announced plans for Merced-based system availability at launch.
Intel-based servers constitute the fastest growing market segment of R/3 systems, representing nearly 30 percent of the installed base, while more than 44 percent of new R/3 sales worldwide are for Intel architecture and Windows NT-based platforms, Intel said.
SAP and Intel also will work together to bring system area network (SAN) clustering technology to the R/3 user community, said Intel CEO Andy Grove. Efforts will focus on the integration of the Virtual Interface (VI) Architecture -- a high-speed communications interface for clusters of servers and workstations -- into the SAP distributed Business Framework object-oriented component architecture. Products based on the VI specification are expected to ship in the first half of 1998.
SAP will use this partnership as a contribution to its Business Framework Architecture, which integrates modular R/3 components as well as complementary software components into SAP solutions. Part of the conceptual work of this cooperation is the design of extended open APIs of the Business Engineer, SAP's R/3 implementation tool, for future use in the area of Business Object and workflow modeling.
The SAP Business Object architecture will incorporate Universal Modeling Language (UML) standards, an area in which IDS Scheer has built competence. The work is also intended to offer R/3 customers an integration path between UML methodology and the Event-driven Process Chain (ePC) Methodology used by SAP.
IDS Scheer will use its new 32-bit-architecture product, ARIS Easy Design, to implement the conceptual results. The relevant UML model types are already implemented in ARIS Easy Design 1.0, which is now available in the U.S.
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