More Than 1,400 Optional Business Functions Deliver Innovation for SAP® ERP to Improve Industry-Specific and Core Business Operations
Sydney, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand — Further delivering customer value by helping companies consume innovation without disruption to core operations, SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) today announced the availability of the third enhancement package for its market-leading Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) application, SAP® ERP. Released incrementally and at no charge to existing customers, enhancement packages enable customers to access new software features via a simple download to switch on as needed, responding directly to customer requests for access to new innovation without touching mission-critical core systems. Indicating the growing contribution and value of partners and customers in co-innovation efforts, SAP also announced that more than half of the enterprise services bundles created for the third enhancement package were developed through efforts of the SAP ecosystem of partners and customers.
SAP is the only provider of enterprise software that delivers incremental innovation to customers in this unique fashion, a key proof point of the flexibility of enterprise service-oriented architecture (enterprise SOA) and one of the most important value benefits for customers in the latest release of SAP ERP (release 6.0). First introduced in mid-2006, enhancement packages are driving customer adoption, making SAP ERP 6.0 the “go-to” SAP ERP release. With enhancement packages, customers can consume innovation at their own option, switching on the innovation they require at a pace of their choosing and business case rather than incurring the potential disruption and costs associated with more traditional full software upgrade approach.
“Through our delivery of enhancement packages, SAP is continuing to lead the way in the enterprise software market by offering customers the ability to quickly innovate and service-enable their enterprise applications at their own pace, without waiting for a major upgrade,” said Jim Hagemann Snabe, corporate officer, SAP AG. “We are hearing very positive feedback from our customers about their appreciation for the simplicity of enhancement packages, and we plan to implement this approach of innovation without disruption across the entire SAP Business Suite in the near term.”
Industry Expertise Leads ERP Innovations
The newest enhancement package makes significant use of SAP’s industry-specific expertise with updates for customers in the retail, trading and public services sectors, as well as enhancements to core ERP modules including financials, human capital management, procurement, corporate services, and sales and service. In addition to enhancements for travel and transportation, aerospace and defence, defence and public security, professional services and wholesale, the enhancement package offers industry-specific innovations such as:
- Public sector organisations: adding functionality to enable grant management, tax and revenue management, tax return processing, shopping cart commitment and item hierarchies.
- Retail and trading industries: delivering modules for global data synchronisation, merchandise and assortment planning, retail method of accounting, product lookup in the customer order management process, in-store food production and cross-docking interface to external warehouse management systems and process improvements for forecasting and replenishment, in-store customer order management, mobile inventory management and integration with the SAP Credit Management application.
- Manufacturing industries: focusing on consumer products and oil and gas companies with improvements to direct store delivery and catch-weight management functionality along with improvements to commodity pricing engines in materials management and enhancements to functionality for remote logistics and joint venture accounting.
Customers Embrace Latest Version of SAP ERP
Today, 5,500 customers in diverse industries around the world are gaining significant business value by leveraging SAP ERP to gain faster access to new functionality and increase their business agility. Customer adoption of the latest release is increasing rapidly, with more than 4,000 go-lives since January 2007 including companies such as GISA GmbH in Germany; HT Media Ltd. in India; Toray Engineering in Japan and Valero Energy Corporation in the United States.
“With SAP’s enhancement packages, our employees can now access critical functionality easily and over the Web instead of using paper-based processes,” said Thomas Graubmann, senior consultant, human resources, Tchibo GmbH. “Instead of having to go with an inferior technology or waiting for a full upgrade, SAP’s enhancement package strategy provided us with timely access to functionality and technology that helped us meet a key business requirement. We have now provided an easier to use and more cost-effective way for our employees to make their travel arrangements and complete the related expense reporting.”
SAP Ecosystem Drives Innovation in Latest Enhancement Package
SAP also announced that its third enhancement package includes more than 50 enterprise services bundles, groups of existing services interfaces that cut across various modules of and business areas covered by SAP ERP. With industry-specific and broad-use purposes such as collaborative networks for the healthcare industry or advancements in traditional order-to-cash processes, enterprise services bundles rapidly provide value to customers by helping them bundle together new and existing enterprise services to address specific customer pain points.
The SAP ecosystem contributed to the development of more than half of the enterprise services bundles released with the third enhancement package. The flexibility of the SAP NetWeaver® technology platform and the simplified deployment of innovations for SAP ERP enables the SAP ecosystem of customers and partners to work together to identify, explore and execute on services bundles with the greatest potential to deliver business value.
Led by the Enterprise Services Community (ES Community) — a cross-industry program enabling partners and customers to help shape the way software is developed and deployed to solve evolving business requirements — development efforts targeted specific industries and topics for the current enhancement package. To streamline application integration in the healthcare industry, for example, 12 hospitals joined SAP in an ES Community definition group and — in less than six months — pinpointed the key service interfaces for several key healthcare industry processes.
“It was a unique experience to collaborate openly with SAP in identifying the core enterprise services for the healthcare industry,” said Dr. Eibo Krahmer, CFO/CIO, University Hospital Mannheim. “The openness and transparency of the program have ensured rapid deployment and efficient use of the services.
The first enhancement package was released to customers in December 2006. Customers began downloading the second enhancement package in July 2007. First customers are already implementing the third enhancement package, which is expected to be fully released later in Spring 2008.
“Software applications managers need ways to make ERP more relevant to business users to maintain support for next-generation ERP projects,” said Jeff Woods, research vice president, Gartner. “Making users wait until the next major ERP upgrade cycle for new functionality isn’t a user-oriented practice and can drive users to non-standard solutions, driving up costs and complexity for applications managers. The ability to deliver functionality when business users need it should be a key component of enterprises’ next-generation ERP strategies.”