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SAP hones e-commerce tools

The maker of business software is adding new tools for selecting and coordinating with suppliers, among other improvements that it says will save customers money.

Alorie Gilbert Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Alorie Gilbert
writes about software, spy chips and the high-tech workplace.
Alorie Gilbert
Business software maker SAP plans to release an updated version of its e-commerce applications that includes new tools for selecting and coordinating with suppliers.

The Waldorf, Germany-based company on Tuesday discussed the details of the product, set for release next month, called mySAP Supplier Relationship Management. The set of software programs includes applications for electronic auctions, supplier evaluations, electronic catalogs, and procurement of supplies.

The software also will include tools for holding auctions, purchasing business services such as temporary labor and consulting, and communicating with suppliers about orders via a Web portal. The portal component also can give suppliers access to relevant inventory and engineering information stored in the SAP system.

SAP said the applications can help companies negotiate better prices and terms with suppliers, as well as reduce programming costs related to exchanging data with business partners.

SAP, which posted revenue of $7.8 billion last year, sells a vast set of business applications that are designed to connect human resources, accounting, manufacturing, sales and customer service functions. The company teamed with Commerce One in 2000 to develop its electronic auction and purchasing software, but broke off the partnership last year. Now SAP competes with Commerce One, Ariba, PeopleSoft and Oracle.

Last week, Ariba said it plans to release an updated version of its electronic purchasing system in June, similarly aimed at helping companies save money on business services.

SAP does not publicly disclose the price of its products.