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SAP To Provide Open Integration

Helping to resolve the infrastructure dilemma for CIOs on whether to purchase natively integrated applications from a single vendor or custom-integrated applications from different vendors, German software giant SAP AG (SAP) today detailed its new open-standards-based infrastructure to provide support for both approaches.

Using its mySAP Technology, which powers the mySAP.com's e-business platform and its suite of solutions, SAP hopes to both enable technical interoperability and enhance collaborative business in a heterogeneous IT world.

SAP says the mySAP Technology enables collaboration across business processes and among users both within and beyond company boundaries by integrating applications and Web services from different vendors on one common and open Web infrastructure.

Customers can benefit from this open integration by reducing their cost of ownership, adding flexibility to their technology infrastructure and protecting existing investments by avoiding the need to 'rip and replace' current systems.

"The nature of business and collaborative processes is continuous change and will include applications provided by many different vendors in various technology environments," says Hasso Plattner, co-chairman of the executive board, chief executive officer and co-founder of SAP AG.

He explains that publishing a suite of application programming interfaces is a first step but is no longer sufficient. He argues that the e-business platform itself has to offer the flexibility to change: "SAP, SAPMarkets and SAP Portals together provide this comprehensive business infrastructure to meet the challenge of building a collaborative economy," he says.

mySAP Technology consists of three elements SAP says can help drive collaborative business: Web Application Server, exchange and integration infrastructure, and portal infrastructure. All elements are designed to enable compatibility with technologies from other vendors and interoperability regardless of the underlying technologies deployed.

"SAP's strategic direction is to provide tools that will enable users to integrate applications and processes internally, between enterprises and with third-party applications," says Yvonne Genovese, research director at market research firm Gartner Inc.

Michael Barnes, senior program director at IT research and consulting firm META Group Inc. agrees, arguing that the delivery of strategic business functions and processes via an open, standards-based infrastructure is crucial for organizations looking for effective internal and external integration with other systems and business partners at reduced costs:

"To attain the highest levels of corporate agility, companies will increasingly look for a stable, scalable and cost-effective equilibrium between adopting new software, standards and solutions, while simultaneously upgrading and maintaining custom legacy environments," he concludes.