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SAP distributes free Euro upgrade

With the European Monetary Unit set to take flight next year, SAP gives customers a leg up with a free patch to allow systems to process it.

With the European Monetary Unit set to take flight next year, SAP is giving its global and European customers a leg up on the new currency with a free patch to allow R/3 and R/2 systems to process it.

"The Euro deadline is fast on us," said Brian Murphy, analyst at the Yankee Group in Boston, from SAP's European user group conference in Madrid, Spain. "It is much sooner than the year 2000 deadline. It is not as trivial as adding another currency. It is more complicated than the Y2K problem and it's more visible."

Any company doing business in Europe will need to tweak their financial systems in the next year to handle the new unified European currency.

The patch will allow European or global companies using SAP's popular R/3 back office automation system Version 3.0 and 3.1 to handle the new currency. Version 4 is already capable of handling it. Users of the mainframe-based R/2 system also can get a free patch.

"That SAP is providing it as a free enhancement raises the bar for other vendors that may have considered charging customers for this feature," said Alice Greene, analyst at Industry Directions in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Oracle added EMU support to Release 10.7 and Release 11 of its application package. Users will have to upgrade either release for a charge to be ready for the conversion to the new currency. They also will also have to upgrade to either release to be ready for the millennium. Oracle Release 10.7 is the first version of Oracle's applications to be compliant with the year 2000. The others use a two-digit date system and need to be replaced before the end of next year.

PeopleSoft didn't jump on the EMU until just this year with the latest release of its applications. Users of its products looking for global functionality will need to upgrade to the system. PeopleSoft has lagged behind most of its competitors in support for international markets. Most of its focus has been on domestic North America, but with Release 7.5 it has focused its efforts on expanding into foreign markets.