RealTime IT News

SAP's New Expert Blog

SAP  is launching a community site that it hopes will extend its footprint in the enterprise.

The new business-process expert community is geared to relatively non-technical users and reflects the growing importance of business process management and business process optimization within enterprises.

"This is a community for people who straddle IT and the business units they serve," Mark Yolton, vice president of SAP community programs, told internetnews.com.

Yolton said that the new community site will be valuable to less advanced developers who in many cases fill those new roles.

"Someone who is not a coder can customize and configure applications to deliver the same services and business processes," he said.

Yolton said that the site, quietly introduced fewer than four months ago, already has 30,000 members providing best practices and expertise on designing, developing, deploying and optimizing business processes.

"This is part of our strategy of working with a large ecosystem of partners, developers and software providers to build on SAP's platform," said Yolton.

SAP launched a more technically oriented community for software developers in October 2003.

That community currently numbers approximately half a million users, and SAP expects its new site to attract at least as many members.

The new roles that SAP is seeking to attract through the site have been spawned in large part by the growing acceptance of SOA .

Yolton said SAP hopes it will attract a new pool of potential users by tapping into this trend.

"We hope it will attract businesses that are not SAP customers to consider SAP as a platform and consider working with us going forward," he said, adding the site should also help extend the company's footprint within enterprises that have already implemented SAP.

Sheryl Kingstone, an analyst at the Yankee Group, said this was a way for SAP to replicate the open source environment.

"Specialists and consultants outside their ecosystem can build pieces of functionality they could resell or share with other customers," she said.

Yolton noted that the forums are not uniquely for SAP tools.

"It is not a SAP-only community," he said. "There are SAP-oriented tools, but it's open to anyone who wants to join and participate."