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New SAP products aim for easy solutions

The enterprise applications maker is hoping that its SAP Direct line of software and services will provide quicker fixes to users of its larger applications.

SAP on Friday launched a set of "quick fix" packages of software and services aimed at helping customers tackle everyday projects related to its enterprise systems.

The 50 individual bundles, marketed under the banner of SAP Direct, address tasks such as integrating fax and e-mail applications or data-archiving tools with the software maker's enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management systems. SAP Direct has been available in the United Kingdom since 2000 but is only now reaching the United States, as well as Denmark, Ireland and South Africa.

The SAP Direct add-ons, which will be sold through the company's SAP America subsidiary, promise a 30-day turnaround for most projects, with payment due only after the work has been completed. Most of the packages will sell for less than $30,000. Executives at the company, based in Walldorf, Germany, say the rapid-fix approach will help customers garner more value from its products by allowing them to more easily take care of immediate needs.

Among other projects addressed by the SAP offerings are purchase order automation, inventory management and a number of tasks related to monitoring the performance of information technology systems, including the company's MySAP business applications.

The value of solving everyday IT business tasks for its customers is obvious to SAP, which is hoping not only to add revenue through delivery of the packaged services but also to reduce frustration among customers working to integrate tools or add capabilities to its complex systems. SAP is also hoping that customers view its quick-fix projects as more attractive than the process of finding and working with additional applications vendors.

SAP has been working hard of late to reduce the perception that its enterprise systems can be challenging to work with. The company has created new software and services aimed specifically at relieving common customer headaches. Earlier this week, SAP announced an update to its maintenance package that added a number of tools to help customers more easily manage changes made to its software and other business applications.

Kevin Young, vice president of field marketing at SAP, said the company is planning a slew of additional products and services offered under the SAP Direct mantle that will largely focus on making life easier for its users.

"We're listening to our customers, who are telling us that they want quick, automated solutions that have been pretested and are ready to go," Young said. "We know we can save them time and money by helping them complete these kinds of projects faster and more effectively."