SAP Introduces xApps

Company's packaged, composite applications create new cross-functional business processes.

Oracle Corp. wasn’t the only vendor playing host to conference attendees this week. At its TechEd 2002 conference in New Orleans, SAP America Inc. unveiled two new applications designed to support plant productivity and product design processes.

SAP will make both applications available as “xApps,” which it describes as packaged, composite applications that “bolt” on top of existing systems to create new business processes.

The ERP software giant announced that Canadian electric power generation and marketing company TransAlta has successfully deployed Visual Information for Plants (xVIp), an xApp that unifies disparate asset management applications, which typically collect equipment maintenance and performance information. xVIp was jointly developed by TransAlta in conjunction with NRX Global Corp.. an independent software vendor that specializes in equipment information management technologies.

In addition to xVIp’s ability to tie together product life-cycle management, financial and asset life-cycle applications—along with enterprise databases—TransAlta and NRX designed xVIp to handle other duties, such as providing support for maintenance problems.

“[xVIp] extends the reach and effectiveness of IT on the shop floor to generate increased productivity and profitability in asset-intensive industries,” comments Paul Kurchina, TransAlta’s manager, program management.

SAP also announced SAP xApp Product Definition (SAP xPD), a new xApp that it intends to deliver next year. SAP says that SAP xPD can streamline the process of developing and designing new applications because it collects and manages the collection of ideas and requirements from each relevant business area during the initial stages of the product design process. The company says SAP xPD is designed to bolt on top of existing product design applications that support the development process from idea to implementation.

The result, SAP says, is that SAP xPD can enhance organizational efficiencies to help bring new products to market faster.

SAP introduced its first xApp, SAP xApp Resource and Program Management (SAP xRPM), during its Sapphire user conference in June. Like the xApps that SAP announced today, SAP xRPM "bolts" on top of, and coordinates among, existing applications to give business managers and teams control over a portfolio of projects, available resources, and continuous program results.

At TechEd this week, SAP confirmed that SAP xRPM will begin shipping by mid-December.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.