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SAP launches its own community exchange

Although it is reeling from the impact of the global financial meltdown, like every other vendor, and squirming under the weight of Oracle's lawsuit over its soon-to-be-shut-down TomorrowNow subsidiary, German software giant SAP (NYSE: SAP) is soldiering on.

Out in Berlin, at the SAP TechEd 2008 conference, being held through Thursday, SAP has announced EcoHub, an online marketplace that lets customers "discover, evaluate and buy partner solutions to complement their SAP installations."

Now, where did I hear of a structure like this before? Aha! The AppExchange from Salesforce.com, that's where -- except that the AppExchange includes applications developed by Salesforce.com's customers, developers and partners, while EcoHub only includes solutions from SAP trusted partners.

No customer-developed apps, tsk, tsk, but EcoHub (and get the name right, there's lots of other sites with the same name but a different spelling and they can be rather exciting) does have a ratings section, a user feedback section and demos.

Well, at least it makes the task of looking for third-party solutions for your SAP environment easier. You can navigate the site by industry or solution, do a keyword search (novel thought!), sort by relevance or partner, and look at "most viewed" and "highest rated" solutions.

You can also tap feedback from peers and business process experts, read success stories, which are as much a staple of corporate Websites as oatmeal is, schedule a solution demo on EcoHub with an SAP partner, request more information on solutions you find, and buy the solution online.

All of this is welcome news, to be sure, and it's yet another indication that SAP is prepared to fight tooth and nail for its share of the market.

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