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IBM, SAP team for retail

The German software titan and Big Blue announce a three-pronged relationship covering products, technology, and services.

    German software titan SAP and computer giant IBM have galvanized their relationship in the retail sector.

    The two companies announced today a three-pronged relationship covering products, technology, and services with the joint offering of IBM's Makero for Merchandise Planning application for SAP customers and the integration of IBM's Payment Suite, incorporating Secure Electronic Transaction technology, with SAP's Retail Online Store using SAP's business application programming interfaces.

    The announcement comes out of SAP's user conference in Los Angeles and builds on a long history of joint activities in the retail sector including IBM's participation in creating the SAP retail data model and the development of the Retail Interchange interface as an option to connect the Point of Sales system to SAP Retail.

    Based on the SAP R/3 enterprise software, SAP Retail is an enterprise application that blends sectors of wholesale and retail business and provides links throughout the logistics supply chain, the company said.

    For retailers who want to build on their existing SAP Retail planning system, SAP and IBM are jointly offering an extension to SAP Retail for seasonal retailers with Makoro for Merchandise Planning.

    The two companies also said that they have developed a way to integrate IBM Payment Suite for Secure Electronic Solutions into SAP Retail Online Store, the e-commerce component of SAP Retail.

    IBM Payment Suite for Secure Electronic Solutions uses the Secure Electronic Transactions protocol, an industry standard that enables the secure use of credit and debit cards on the Internet.

    IBM's Payment Suite integrates SET into each phase of an e-commerce transaction and uses digital certificate technology for the consumer, the merchant, and the acquiring bank's processing system, according to the company. The suite consists of the IBM Payment Server, IBM Payment Gateway, IBM Payment Registry, and IBM Consumer Wallet.

    SAP Retail Online Store is a business-to-business and consumer-to-business Internet component integrated into SAP Retail that allows for online shopping.

    The new combined e-commerce retail package is available today, the companies said.

    Today's announcement comes a day after SAP's competitor in the business process management market, Oracle, debuted new versions of its front office e-commerce applications for Web-based selling and customer service.