SAP Opens NetWeaver To Developers

SAP developers were treated to a welcome announcement at the opening of the SAP NetWeaver Conference in Basel, Switzerland, Tuesday: the opening of the NetWeaver platform to independent software vendors (ISVs).

“Powered by SAP NetWeaver” and “Certified by SAP NetWeaver” are the
company’s new catch-phrases for getting developers to design, certify
and market NetWeaver applications, expanding the customer base for both along the way.

In the past, ISVs were only allowed within kissing distance of the
NetWeaver platform, namely, to ensure the third-party component was
compliant. To date, SAP had roughly 200 companies signed onto its
“partner” and ISV program, all of whom are members of the new program.

To be designated a certified SAP NetWeaver application, the ISV needs to
make sure it has back-end integration with a NetWeaver component and
also enhances the platform’s functionality. Powered NetWeaver apps are those
that bring Java- or ABAP-based tools to the SAP Web application server
or iViews to the SAP Enterprise Portal.

ISVs also get the benefit of increased brand marketing, since SAP will
tie products together according to the market they are looking at
entering and promoting the ISVs application.

According to Shai Agassi, SAP executive board member, the program augments the software company’s position as a trusted innovator.

“This is a clear win-win for all parties — partners, SAP and most
importantly, our customers,” he said. “SAP NetWeaver offers a clear,
opportunistic business proposition for independent software vendors, and
we welcome them into the SAP ecosystem.”

If this all sounds a bit familiar, that’s because it is; the biggest
software platforms are opening up their code (or at least enough of it)
to bring in independent developers. Last week, BEA Systems did the
same with its WebLogic platform

According to analysts, the move gives big companies like SAP an instant
tool they can pitch to prospective clients, and gives developers access
to a customer base they might never otherwise see. Companies such as Sun
Microsystems , BEA and SAP are all
trying to catch up with the developer community established and nurtured
at Microsoft, which has led to the popularity of its Visual Studio platform.

In related news, SAP launched Tuesday a “meta” tag directory for
inventory labeling, called “Master Data Management.” The tool,
officials said, is for companies that have a product called by several
names along the supply chain. For example, while a bolt might be
labeled by one thing by the manufacturer, it’s called another by the
supplier and yet another by the customer who is looking for the bolt.

“The synchronization of reference data allows a clear view of product,
market and supplier activities, resulting in the ability to make fast,
accurate business decisions,” said Barry Wilderman, META Group director
of technology research services. “Efficient and reliable master data
management is thus key to achieving the smooth execution of
collaborative business processes on a global scale.”

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