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SAP to launch online developer network

The enterprise software maker says at its annual developer conference that it will launch an online network aimed at fostering collaboration between software developers and customers.

Enterprise software maker SAP said at its annual developer conference on Tuesday that it will launch an online network aimed at fostering collaboration between software developers and customers.

At the TechEd conference in Las Vegas, SAP executive board members Shai Agassi and Peter Zencke stumped hard for the company's latest effort to help customers with applications development efforts. Agassi repeatedly stressed that the new SAP Developer Network was designed "by developers for developers." SAP estimates that over 1 million software developers are working on applications built for the company's enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

"This is the building channel for customers," said Agassi. "It establishes a new level of communication (for SAP) with developers, and for developers to communicate with each other."

The two executives also praised development of NetWeaver, SAP's bundle of open integration and application products, which was launched earlier this year. According to SAP, a "significant" number of customers have adopted NetWeaver, which allows SAP customers to use software development and middleware tools from IBM and Microsoft to integrate and customize applications.

Two companies working with NetWeaver, Siemens and Synopsys, are showcasing their efforts at TechEd. A Synopsys executive said NetWeaver has allowed the company to consolidate its non-SAP technology investments. Siemens reported that it is using components of NetWeaver along with SAP Enterprise Portal and SAP Web Application Server to support an employee information project focused on human resources.

Zencke said SAP would continue to push to erase boundaries between the company's various software applications, especially CRM software.

"We're beginning to create new applications that break down the borders of enterprise solutions," said Zencke. "SAP will deliver cross-enterprise applications that focus on multiple systems aligned around services."

Zencke said the next generation of SAP applications would use standards-based architecture to improve alignment among various software tools, helping the company cater to specific business demands. In order to achieve the goal, Zencke said SAP would use NetWeaver to help build "reusable business objects and business engines" into its products.

Other news from SAP included Monday's announcement that it had bolstered analytics software in its latest version of mySAP CRM.

SAP is also showing off the latest in technological gadgetry at the TechEd show, arming attendees with badges loaded with radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. Attendance at the conference is being tracked via RFID, ending the older practice of using barcode technology to let attendees tell the company what they're interested in.