Client-server applications maker SAP today lifted the curtain on future plans for its R/3 client-server applications suite.
The company announced that is partnering with Microsoft to link R/3 with Microsoft's upcoming Merchant System electronic commerce software to enable R/3 users to build Internet-based sales systems. The integrated products will be available in the fourth quarter, according to SAP.
R/3 is a bundle of applications for performing common business functions, such as human resources tracking, financial management, and manufacturing process flow. In the last few years it has gone from zero market share in the United States to one of the most popular client-server applications on the market.
The integration of the products gives R/3 users a ready-made electronic storefront that combines Merchant System's transaction processing with R/3's back-end purchasing, supply chain management functions, and order and inventory tracking tools.
SAP today also outlined planned R/3 upgrades and announced the next major version of the application suite, labeled R/3 Release 4.0. That release, due to ship in the third quarter of 1997, will introduce a new component architecture that should make the system more flexible as well as easier to set up and manage. SAP will begin rolling out the first components in the new architecture as part of R/3 release 3.1, due by year's end.
"For customers, the advantage will be in the ability to put different R/3 modules into the same environment to support separate departments within a company," said Bill McSpadden, president of Plant-Wide Research Group, a market research firm based in North Billerica, Mass. The first SAP module to receive a componentized face-lift will be its human resources application.