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SAP adds partners to technology maps

Building on a commitment made to users in December, SAP delivers 7 of 19 planned technology maps for users in the vertical markets the company targets, such as banking.

German software giant SAP's technology roadmaps are traveling a bit farther.

Building on a commitment made to users in December, SAP today said it has delivered 7 of 19 planned technology maps for users in the vertical markets the company targets, such as banking.

Those blueprints, called SAP Solution Maps Edition 99, are now available on the company's Web site. The other 12 will come out later this year, SAP said.

At CeBit 99 today, SAP unveiled maps for banking, high-tech, media, retail, consumer products, oil and gas, and higher education and research industries.

Last year, the company released its first blueprints publicly and offered detailed information to approximately 200 customers on a pilot basis. Now, all blueprints--along with pilot users' comments--are available on SAP's Web site, indexed by geographic area.

The information provided has been expanded to include roadmaps for SAP's partner vendors as well, said Udo Edelmann, SAP's director in the firm's chemical/pharmaceutical division.

Though analysts say SAP's roadmap concept is not new, it does enable users to access all the data from one source and help them to determine how SAP's partner vendors' strategies fit into their technology plans.

The maps are broken down into five segments. The first is "realization," which covers sizing, installation, configuration, migration, and testing plans that companies must map out before implementing the software. The second is "integration," including how to link all a firm's instances of SAP software together and the various business processes that it will support.

The third segment is "extension," or how to tie complimentary software to SAP, as well as what interfaces will be needed for legacy systems or other software, and any custom development that may be needed.

Next comes "reliable operation," or managing the system once it's running. This map addresses in detail manageability, performance, availability, and security issues.

Last is the "continuous change," which deals with how to plan for upgrades and what upgrades may be coming as well as management and scalability issues. This is also where SAP reveals most of its future plans.

The roadmaps detail SAP's plan for R/3, partnerships, and future plans for each vertical market by region and required components for SAP R/3, the New Dimension product line, and SAP partner products.