SAP Ecosystem Is an Economy of its Own

Feature Article | October 2, 2007 by SAP News

According to the report “The recent rise of SAP as the leading enterprise applications vendor across multiple customer and product categories has created a booming economy whereby an increasing number of developers and resellers are jockeying for the attention of the market leader and its installed base of more than 41,000 customers.” The announcement was made at SAP TechEd ’07, the physical gathering for SAP’s customer-focused ecosystem, being held this week in Las Vegas, Nevada, Oct. 1 – 5, 2007.

SAP ecosystem in action

The tremendous velocity of the SAP ecosystem has ushered in a new era of collaborative innovation and grassroots support for enterprise SOA. With thousands of partners worldwide, thriving communities of innovation and industry-leading solution co-innovation initiatives, SAP is at the forefront of driving innovation through a customer-focused ecosystem.
“Every single day, in every region of the world, the SAP ecosystem brings together SAP, thousands of customers, partners, communities of developers and business process experts to co-innovate industry-leading solutions, access resources and share best practices to further the value of the business process platform in a dynamic ecosystem of business networks,” said Zia Yusuf, executive vice president, Global Ecosystem and Partner Group, SAP AG. “SAP TechEd embodies the great community work that takes place online globally throughout the year. It is energizing to see how everyone benefits from the collaboration and co-innovation enabled by our thriving ecosystem.”

Thriving communities of innovation

A driving force behind the vibrancy of the SAP ecosystem is its “communities of innovation,” four robust networks of developers, customers and partners, conceived and enabled by SAP, who collaborate in the following ways:

  • SAP Developer Network climbed from 600,000 to over 900,000 members in one year. Members represent 120 countries and 100 territories worldwide. The average response time for questions posted to forums is less than 20 minutes; over 5,000 contributions to the forums are posted daily. More than 1,000 bloggers, an expert wiki, download center, e-learning and video sections, and thousands of technical articles drive more than one-half million unique visitors each month to the SAP Developer Network. Recognizing top contributors who demonstrate exceptional community spirit, engagement and the open and collaborative sharing of SAP expertise, SAP is launching an annual program of “community mentors” who will receive early access to SAP software, be invited to special “mentor only” events and online forums and will be asked to participate in product development boards to provide direction and input.
  • Business Process Expert Community achieved the 200,000-member milestone, just one year after its official launch. The community boasts 13 industry-specific forums as well as a business process expert skills and education section. Members of this community are prime candidates to leverage the power of a business process platform to compose processes that enhance their own companies’ and customers’ strategic business advantage.
  • Industry Value Networks continue to thrive across 13 industries including aerospace and defense, automotive, banking, chemicals, consumer products, mill products: forest and paper, high-tech, mining, oil and gas, public sector, retail, travel and transportation services and utilities. Industry Value Networks bring together committed groups of customers, partners and SAP to focus on priority industry needs and to collaborate and co-innovate on the creation of solutions.
  • Enterprise Services Community has over 200 members and 20 active community definition groups. The Enterprise Services Community enable customers, partners and SAP to form collaborative groups focused to co-define enterprise service specifications for business process platforms in an IP-safe environment.

SAP opens its first Co-Innovation Lab

In July 2007 SAP opened its first Co-Innovation Lab in Palo Alto, California, which initiated a number of solution co-innovation projects with the founding sponsors of the lab: HP, Intel, NetApp and Cisco, and with other partners such as Questra, Wonderware, F5 Networks and Citrix. The SAP Co-Innovation Lab hosted a series of community education events on topics such as virtualization strategies, network optimization for enterprise SOA and provisioning of enterprise services by partners. One lab project led to a new SAP certification for networking products, which has so far resulted in network vendor certifications completed by F5, Citrix and Cisco.
“Citrix has been working closely with the SAP Co-Innovation Lab to develop blueprints for our networking and virtualization technologies that help customers optimize their infrastructure for enterprise SOA,” said Wes Wasson, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Citrix Systems. “The lab is a great accelerator in helping customers maximize the benefits they can achieve with the right application delivery strategy in place.”

SAP drives interoperability and promotes openness of the ecosystem

Since SAP customers and partners benefit from increased openness and interoperability via compliance with industry standards, the SAP Industry Standards Group participates actively in the standards community. SAP helps define industry standards for SOA, business process management and modeling, as well as vertical markets.
Current involvements include:

  • Core Internet and Web Services Infrastructure: OASIS, W3C, WS-I
  • Specific Technology Domains: OSGi
  • Java Technology and Open Source: Eclipse, Java Community Process
  • Business Process Management and Modeling: OMG
  • Business Standards: UN/CEFACT, OAGi and many focused industry-specific efforts

SAP co-innovates to ensure trusted-partner solutions

The SAP ecosystem puts the customer at the center and leverages the expertise of a network of software solution, technology and service partners – all supporting a common IT platform – to promote a new level of collaboration for accelerated innovation, communication and delivery of end-to-end solutions to meet industry-specific, customer needs.
SAP-endorsed business solutions that are complementary to SAP software offerings are developed in accordance with SAP development guidelines, provide additional choices and flexibility for businesses running SAP software, and are powered by the SAP NetWeaver platform. Reflexis recently became the latest company with an endorsed business solution, adding to a list that includes Callidus, Conformia, MCA, Meridium, OpenText, OR Soft, PROLOGA, Questra, Ruleburst, SmartOps, SPSS, StreamServe, TechniData, VitalSpring, Wonderware and zetVisions.
This week at Adobe MAX 2007, SAP will demonstrate a proof-of-concept version of the SAP xApp Spend Analytics (SAP xSA) package, an SAP application to be deployed on Adobe AIR, a cross-operating system application runtime from Adobe that enables developers to use Web technologies to extend rich Internet applications (RIAs) to the desktop. The new SAP xSA will help companies measure and analyze their spending patterns.
Tata Consultancy Services has teamed with SAP to establish a “Perfect Plant” center of excellence in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. The Perfect Plant center of excellence will showcase SAP manufacturing applications, partner composite applications and ISV software solutions working together in a simulated plant environment.
In a recent report2 issued earlier this year by Stephen Graham, group vice president Software Business Strategies at IDC, Graham points out that “customer-focused ecosystems are win-win-win initiatives. The value of these networks is very compelling for all participants: vendors, partners, and customers. Vendors interested in developing customer-focused ecosystems should look to innovators, such as SAP, for insights into and best practices associated with these networks.”

SAP TechEd ’07 in Las Vegas, Munich, Shanghai and Bangalore

More than 15,000 SAP customers, partners and technical experts are convening at SAP TechEd ’07 to learn how to transform existing business processes and IT landscapes and take advantage of the power and flexibility of enterprise service-oriented architecture. Celebrating its 11th anniversary, SAP’s largest ecosystem education event of the year offers more than 1,000 hours of lecture-driven and hands-on sessions. SAP TechEd is being held in Las Vegas on October 1-5, Munich on October 17-19, Shanghai on November 6-7 and Bangalore on November 28-30.

Source: SAP AG

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