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SAP Portal Powers Getronics' U.S. Intranet

SAP Portals Inc., the portal-providing subsidiary of Germany's SAP AG, said Tuesday that it has signed on to make its unification portal the base for Amsterdam-based Getronic's enterprise portal.

Financial terms of the deal were not made public. Specifically, IT solutions and services provider Getronics will unleash the new SAP-powered portal this September to its 4,000 employees to improve employee-to-employee collaboration. A preliminary version is already being test-run by 600 U.S. staffers, who use it for expense management and human resource applications.

The goal, as with most portals, is to provide greater unification to workers who inhabit in remote, or even home offices. Getronics US evaluated several portal vendors (the firm would not specify who, but top enterprise portal providers include Sybase, Plumtree and Eprise, all of whom compete with SAP in this space) and picked SAP "based on a broad collection of strengths, including industry-leading cross-product integration and low implementation cost." Interestingly, perhaps SAP's key draw, according to Getronics, was how well it worked with Microsoft servers and applications within the portal.

"We needed a technology that enabled us to bring our back-office ERP information onto the manager's e-business desktop," said Glen Slater, vice president of e-Business for Getronics US. "After a comprehensive evaluation of a number of portal solutions currently available on the market, SAP Portals was the only vendor that offered a solution with a unified platform and the scalability and adaptability to grow with our company. SAP Portals is now helping us support the increasing demand from our employees, clients and partners for real-time access to mission-critical information stored in our enterprise applications and systems."

Michael Murdock, president and CEO of Starphire Technologies, which specializes in content management services, talked about the importance of intranets in a study.

Murdock said Intranet development is particularly important for organizations with multiple offices or staff working from remote locations, as well as for larger organizations with less frequent personal interaction between management and employees.

"Internal communications is a 'management down' issue," Murdock said. "If management encourages the sharing of information with and among employees, the intranet becomes a great tool."

So, then, Getronics' play makes sense.

"With good staff at a premium, more organizations are realizing the importance of effective employee communications in gaining and retaining the best employees," said Murdock. "Using the intranet as a communications forum or 'one-stop shop' for staff may well become a critical tool for employers of all sizes."