Leveraging the e-business possibilities that the Web offers is, without
a doubt, an important opportunity for SAP customers today. More and more
business is being - and must be - conducted online. This often starts
with intranet initiatives that serve up company news and employee self-service
applications. Then, with a bit of experience under their belts, IT organizations
roll out applications whose scope extends beyond the enterprise. Here's
where you start to benefit from e-business.
Of course, all this requires effective end-to-end integration of a variety
of components and bringing the right information to the right user in
the right way. Here is where mySAP.com open integration facilities come
into play. They not only solve the technical application integration problem,
but also recognize the need for different user paradigms. For example,
certain features found in a company's internal Windows-based application
may not be appropriate for an external browser-based community of users.
Developers of e-business solutions need to be mindful of the different
types of users and how they access different applications.
Bringing the users to the applications is the easier part. Integrating
the different applications is the more difficult challenge. There is an
abundance of standards available to help achieve this. SAP, in fact, is
a dominant player in setting many of these standards, including XML. But
the key differentiator is integrating business processes. If you want
to automate supply chain practices, for example, you need to ensure that
information passed between members of the supply chain is interpreted
and used in a consistent manner. This is the true integration challenge.
The ability to achieve business process integration is the distinction
that sets SAP apart. We are, in concert with our software partners, codifying
the business processes around which customer enterprises revolve. This
concept is new to the industry. It goes beyond producing open software
that can interoperate with third-party solutions - we've been doing that
for years. What we are doing now, together with customers and partners,
is actually defining the collaborative processes that cut across the very
fabric of a business application, be it our application or that of a partner.
We are standardizing the semantics of the application while providing
the flexibility needed to adapt to individual needs. In so doing, SAP
is addressing the most critical imperative for ensuring successful e-business
implementations among our customer base in the months and years ahead.
Member of the Extended Executive Board SAP AG