Flirting with Software

Feature Article | November 5, 2010 by Andrea Ackermann

SAP StreamWork: worldwide network for the office (photo: Facemakr for iPad/iPhone)

SAP StreamWork: worldwide network for the office (photo: Facemakr for iPad/iPhone)

Social networks are becoming increasingly widespread as platforms for discussion and exchanging information. At the start of the year, SAP transported this model to the classic business environment with the SAP StreamWork application.

With this on-demand software, several employees can work on a project – known as an SAP StreamWork activityat the same time or at different times. Just like in an Internet forum, they can gather and exchange information, discuss topics, perform analyses, and cast votes. The process is saved, so that individual developments can always be traced and are available as models for future projects.

Next page: SAP StreamWork 2.0 with new functions

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Rapid information exchange using the chat function (screenshot: SAP)

Rapid information exchange using the chat function (screenshot: SAP)

SAP StreamWork 2.0 with New Functions

Since September 2010, the enhanced version – SAP StreamWork 2.0 – has been available and offers a number of new services. Using the chat function, users can exchange information and opinions even faster than before. If a chat results in a fabulous idea, individual passages can be copied from the chat and saved. And if any flirtatious comments crept into the chat, there’s no need to worry – because such sections can be deleted with immediate effect.

When SAP StreamWork is launched, a dashboard appears, which displays the activities of the user’s contacts. Microsoft Excel tables can be copied fully to the application. A full screen mode enables complex graphics to be displayed clearly. Activities that have a high priority can be marked with a star and users can create digital to-do lists. To make sure that nothing gets lost, SAP StreamWork saves the content automatically every 30 seconds.

As a cloud-based application, SAP StreamWork 2.0 is a comparatively low priced application that doesn’t require any additional hardware and is easy to install. Users access SAP StreamWork from their Web browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer is supported from version 7 and Mozilla Firefox from version 3.0. In addition, Adobe Flash Player version 10.0 or higher must be installed.

Next page: Beta version of the Enterprise Edition

The beta version of the Enterprise Edition (screenshot: SAP)

The beta version of the Enterprise Edition (screenshot: SAP)

Beta Version of the Enterprise Edition

There are three editions of SAP StreamWork, all of which are currently only available in English: the Basic Edition, the Professional Edition, and the beta version of the Enterprise Edition. The Basic Edition is free of charge, and license codes for the Professional Edition can be purchased online or from SAP Sales. In Europe, an annual subscription costs €97, in Asia the price is U.S.$128, and in the rest of the world U.S.$108 (not including value-added tax).

SAP is currently inviting companies to apply for the Enterprise Edition beta program at http://sapstreamwork.com/enterprisebeta/. The version can be directly integrated with existing SAP systems and can access data stored there. What’s more, the software can hook up to third-party systems or be connected to homegrown applications.

The Enterprise Edition has enhanced security functions such as single sign-on. Users who already work with SAP software like SAP ERP or SAP Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM) and want an especially secure connection can integrate SAP StreamWork through a proxy server. Non-SAP customers can simply obtain the software using the Internet.

Next page: New options for administrators

All users’ activities at a glance (screenshot: SAP)

All users’ activities at a glance (screenshot: SAP)

New Options for Administrators

The Enterprise Edition includes some new options for administrators. All the tools that the administrator needs to configure the system are displayed on a clearly structured dashboard. Alerts show when updates are available. In the Audit Reports area, the administrator can track users’ activities and document work processes. Accounts held by employees who leave the company can be deleted quickly and easily.

In the Update Management area, the software can be updated automatically or manually. This is also where sources of error are automatically displayed to the administrator and where administrator can manually look for errors. The platform for rectifying errors is called Diagnosis. From this platform, the administrator has the opportunity to link directly to other on-demand help software.

SAP StreamWork as strategy

A mobile version is planned for 2011, enabling the application to be used on iPhones and BlackBerrys. In addition, profiles from other networks – such as Facebook, XING, or LinkedIn – are slated to be integrated with SAP StreamWork in the coming year.

The collaboration software helps employees work more productively, and SAP is using SAP StreamWork to pursue a strategic goal: Not just programmers but all a company’s employees should think of SAP first when they think of software. If they enjoy using a Web application such as SAP StreamWork, they will understand the benefits of other SAP products more readily. Ultimately, SAP StreamWork could show the way to ERP software, from business intelligence to CRM modules.

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