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xApps mark the spot at SAP confab

As the German software maker's e-business conference gets under way in Florida, the company unveils a bevy of new products and deals, including pacts with Nike and Adobe.

German software maker SAP patted itself on the back as its e-business conference got under way Wednesday by unveiling a grab bag of customer deals and product announcements.

The e-business software company officially launched something it calls xApps--for "cross applications"--which will be built by SAP and consulting firm Accenture. The xApps are intended to build on existing software, connect multiple applications from different suppliers, and use information from multiple companies.

SAP also made the following moves:

• Touted its SAP Business One, a package of tools for accounting, logistics, and sales force automation that is aimed at small and midsized businesses. SAP had announced the product in March and said Wednesday that the software will be introduced globally in stages. It will begin with Germany in the third quarter and move to the United States in the fourth quarter.

• Upgraded its MySAP Supply Chain Management package, allowing partners, suppliers and customers to view supply-chain information through a Web browser. The goal is to provide easier access to relevant information. The system alerts network participants to exceptions that affect cross-company processes and schedules and measures how well the network performs against key business objectives and industry standards. • Signed a technology and marketing agreement with Adobe Systems. The deal initially calls for Adobe to integrate its Acrobat and Adobe PDF technology with MySAP. • Announced that Nike has brought SAP's Apparel and Footwear Solution package to its North American operations. Nike will take the system to its European operations later this year. Nike is using several vendors, including i2 Technologies, a Nike representative said.

The Sapphire '02 conference in Orlando, Fla., runs through Friday.