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Sun, SAP Team to Enforce Quality

Sun Microsystems and SAP AG Monday expanded the bounds of their longstanding strategic alliance, creating three programs designed to establish a rigorous new standard for quality and aid mutual customers design, implement and manage mySAP.com e-business platform solutions on Sun infrastructure.

According to Carsten Benecke, Global SAP Alliance marketing development manager, Sun sees the launch of these "customer-centric" programs as a first step toward the development of a standard for interactions between infrastructure vendors and system integrators.

The first program is the creation of the SAP Infrastructure Solution Center, which will serve as a "central repository for best practices and bring together expert teams of solution architects and specialists." The center is located in Walldorf, Germany, and is intended to provide customers with information and best practices about SAP Reference Architecture, SAP Platform Solutions, SAP Horizontal Solutions and SAP Vertical Industry Solutions, all gathered from building, testing, integrating and improving performance of mySAP.com solutions on the Sun platform.

The center will tap Sun's global network of iForce Ready Centers and iForce Competency Centers to give customers a risk-free, real-world environment in which to build prototype solutions, then size, configure and scale them for their specific requirements.

"We have established a center that is focused on combining all of Sun's products and services along a customer lifecycle engagement," Benecke said.

Stuart Wells, vice president of Market Development for Sun, added, "Sun is committed to staying ahead of customers' business needs by developing close advisory relationships to help them deploy the right solution for their unique business needs and through tight integration of mySAP.com on the Sun platform. The Infrastructure Solution Center methodology is a driving force behind Sun as the go-to trusted advisor and reliable business partner for our SAP customers."

The other two programs -- a best practices reference program and the new QUEST (Quality Using Expertise for SAP Technology) certification process -- exist to support the first.

Sun and SAP worked together to develop best practice for managing joint customer references, dubbed Sun Shot, based on Sun Sigma, Sun's adaptation of Six Sigma (a data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating defects in any process). Sun Shot is intended to enable team members to share lessons learned on previous implementations in order to speed new customer solution development and deployment.

Sun Sigma seeks to establish measurable customer requirements and back decision-making with hard data.

"This is really one of the first Sun Sigma products that we are rolling out with that shows an end user benefit in such a visible way," Benecke said. "This is the first established and defined process that ensures quality."

Finally, the QUEST certification process will ensure that Sun's personnel are qualified to provide accurate and consistent sizing guidance to customers according to the rules and recommendations laid out by SAP. QUEST will be implemented through Sun's iForce Competency Center for SAP.