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Lotus makes SAP connection

Lotus Development will give users of its desktop applications easier access to data stored in SAP's R/3 business software with an updated SmartSuite Bonus Pack due to ship later this fall.

Lotus Development will give users of its desktop applications easier access to data stored in SAP's R/3 business software with an updated SmartSuite Bonus Pack due to ship later this fall.

The Bonus Pack a LotusScript extension called LSX that based on R/3's BAPIs (business application Programming Interfaces). The extension wraps R/3 functions, making them and other data directly available to LotusScript developers from within SmartSuite. Lotus is a subsidiary of IBM (IBM).

Essentially, the technology will let developers customize SmartSuite applications so that users can download, manipulate, and update data stored in R/3 through SmartSuite applications such as Lotus 1-2-3 and Approach.

"LSX is effective for IT departments to work on R/3 data in a simple fashion," said Bob Norton, director of SmartSuite product management, Internet applications for Lotus.

The SmartSuite Bonus Pack will let users automatically retrieve customer lists stored in R/3 from within Word Pro, or integrate Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets and financial data stored in R/3. It also will permit updates to R/3 data from within Lotus Word Pro, 1-2-3, or Approach. Currently, the Lotus Connection software only allows one-way transfer of data from R/3 to desktop applications.

The update comes after working with consultants familiar with SAP products and customers, said Norton. "It's an upgrade based on real-world requests."

The SmartSuite Bonus Pack will be distributed as a free update to the existing Lotus Connection for SAP R/3, said company officials.