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By | Gavin Clarke 24th April 2007 08:23

SAP takes mixed view on on-demand

Lateral thinking

Sapphire SAP's chief software thinker has lent qualified support to the on-demand software model while championing other current changes as helping realise SAP's original goals.

Chairman and chief software advisor Hasso Plattner outlined advances in service oriented architectures (SOAs), hardware, architecture, and communities as helping SAP make systems faster, better, and easier to develop. Plattner was speaking at SAP's confernece, attended by 15,000 delegates - customers, partners, and users.

Singling out on-demand, he suggested that the kind of on-premises enterprise software delivered by giants like SAP is too complex to be piped in over the internet.

Generously, he did concede on-demand has its advantages with more rapid product development cycles and lower total cost of ownership for customers.

"Many people say onsite implementations will go away - I don't buy that. Walk the floors [here] and see what's available. Then check what SAP and other companies say can run in a cloud. There's an order of magnitude in between," Plattner said.

He went on, though, that with on-demand: "Testing will be factors faster - you see how quickly Google can develop. They are blogging and sharing information."

With development of onsite software running up to five years, Plattner said there's a need to accelerate development while preserving customer requirements.

Elsewhere, Plattner said new ideas and technologies, which SAP is utilising, are helping it realise some of its original goals. These include in-memory databases for genuinely real-time analytics - or analytics on the fly "an idea we've had since 1968", and which he claimed died when R/3 hit the enterprise.

SAP claims its Business Intelligence Accelerator hardware appliance, developed with Hewlett-Packard last year, can speed analytics queries by up to 120 per cent for certain customers.

SAP is utilising SOA interfaces and standards for enterprise service repositories, portals, data types, composite frameworks, and analytics applications. SAP is also drawing on community input from vertical sectors for composite applications serving NetWeaver.

"SDN [SAP Developer network] has 750,000 members and 4,000 posts per day. This is the future of communities around products. There won't be a product without a community around it. Blogs and wikis - people try to contribute to the product, especially when we have a user community as dedicated to the product as SAP," Plattner said. ®

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