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SAP readies new business-monitoring programs

Company is taking the wraps off a new set of business-reporting tools and a data-sharing program for companies with subsidiaries.

SAP offered a glimpse on Tuesday of several of the 100 new business analysis programs it plans to introduce later this year.

The German software maker, Oracle's chief rival in the business applications market, plans to release software that is designed to crunch data from various business systems and quickly report results.

The programs, called SAP Analytics, will monitor activities as diverse as tax collection, factory utilization and retail staffing, said SAP spokesman Bill Wohl. They'll also incorporate Macromedia's Flash animation software to present data in more graphic and compelling ways, he said.

SAP, which is still riding high on a favorable first-quarter earnings report, is showcasing its technology this week at a European user conference in Copenhagen.

The company also announced that Fossil has agreed to license SAP software to help run the 120-store chain. The deal is evidence that SAP is finding success in the retail software market despite losing a bid to acquire Retek, a specialist in that arena, Wohl said. Retek agreed last month to be acquired by Oracle, which was the higher bidder.

SAP is also developing a program designed to keep daily financial data synchronized between companies and their subsidiaries. The hitch is that all sides have to use accounting software from SAP for the product to work. It plans to release the "subsidiary connectivity solution" by year's end.

SAP did not release prices for the new products, which it plans to sell separately from other programs.