SAP Invests in Commerce One, Extends Partnership with HP

ERP giant SAP is heavily committed to the Internet, claims company CEO, Hasso Plattner, who unveiled a big investment in Commerce One, a provider of software used to create online marketplaces for companies moving their supply chains online. Under terms of the deal, SAP will buy $250 million worth of Commerce One stock, and the two companies will jointly develop e-commerce marketplaces.

SAP, like rivals PeopleSoft and Baan, has been under heavy fire for its sluggishness in providing front-office and Web-friendly applications. SAP's deal with Commerce One is an acknowledgment that SAP cannot supply all the software needed by its customers but is going to have to make deals with other software vendors, particularly those offering products in areas like CRM (customer relationship management), SCM (supply chain management) and e-procurement.

SAP also announced it was extending its relationship with HP on two fronts: a fast-start implementation program for and an output-management solution. Nicole Anderson, Technology Alliance Management at SAP Southern Africa, explained the need for the Starter Pack. "We expect the majority of our 23,000 R/3 customers to move to in the near future," she said. HP will be the principal deployment partner for the Starter Pack.

SAP also said that HP was the first to provide a UNIX implementation of Workplace, SAP's enterprise portal solution. The HP/SAP Ready-to-Run Workplace Server and R/3 programs will be available on HP-UX in South Africa in the coming months.

On the second front, HP and SAP are collaborating on the development of output-management and information delivery software for SAP customers. The product will be branded as HP's output-management solution for R/3 and will be sold by HP's worldwide sales force. The development efforts will focus on output distribution, spooling, Web-based information delivery and electronic forms.

The output-management solution owes much to software from Dazel, a company HP acquired last year. Dazel software takes input from different sources, searches through it for the content needed by a user and then sends it to the user in the required format. In fact, HP has just announced a new release of Dazel Output Explorer 3.0, boasting a new graphical interface, new documentation and support for multiple administrative domains residing on the same server. The product, scheduled for availability July 1, supports IBM AIX, HP-UX, Windows NT and Sun Solaris platforms, and will be priced at $150.