SAP Research: Driving Force for New SAP Technologies

Feature Article | August 13, 2008 by Velin Velkov, SAP Research Communications

“Over the past several years, SAP Research has gained increasing importance for SAP. The efforts of our research unit are very much strengthening SAP’s value proposition and helping the company position itself on the cutting edge of technology,” says Henning Kagermann, co-CEO, SAP AG.

The researchers in the research centers in Europe, the United States, Canada, South Africa, Asia, and Australia do the following:

  • Identify and shape emerging IT trends
  • Evaluate the benefit for SAP customers and for the SAP product portfolio
  • Generate breakthrough technologies through applied research

In contrast to SAP’s product groups and development labs that work on new functions and releases, the researchers explore opportunities that have not yet been developed into products. SAP Research drives many projects, the results of which will supplement, for instance, SAP public security solutions (such as the project SoKNOS).

Co-innovation is the way to success

The business model of SAP Research is based on co-innovation through collaborative research. In collaboration with leading universities, partners, customers, and SAP product groups, SAP Research drives the development of promising ideas and prototypes into market-ready software for maximum customer value. Each SAP Research center is located in close proximity to an SAP development center or a university campus.

To that end, customers are involved early on in the research process through special lighthouse projects. Meanwhile, dedicated “living labs” demonstrate technological research in real-world settings, thus turning prospective SAP solutions into tangible experiences.

Among the most recent successes of SAP Research is the opening of the Future Factory in Dresden, Germany – a joint effort of SAP Research and industrial and academic partner organizations to foster research and development for the manufacturing industry.

Results from such joint research projects with customers can very often be implemented through internal transfers in innovative add-ons to existing SAP products.

SAP Research spearheads efforts in the THESEUS research program, which was initiated by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economy and Technology. The program aims to develop a new infrastructure that will make finding and consuming services and information on the Internet more effective. Within the program, the TEXO project, led by SAP Research, is helping to create an Internet-based service economy.

Focus of research

Among the leading research topics are the “Internet of Services” and the “Internet of Things.”

The Internet of Services is about finding and combining services and information in order to fulfill unique requirements as precisely as possible.

The Internet of Things seamlessly integrates physical objects into the IT world and makes them an active part of business processes. For example, everyday objects, facilities, and machines communicate information about themselves to each other using integrated sensors.

The year 2007 saw some tangible results from this research – the Future Factory in Dresden and the Future Retail Center in Switzerland.

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