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SAP Extends Relations With Microsoft

At the company's user conference, chairman and CEO Henning Kagermann said the partnership will make it easier for users to share functionality between SAP apps and Microsoft Office.

SAP kicked off its annual conference Wednesday by unveiling an extended relationship with Microsoft and new details about its NetWeaver application platform.

There are more than 40,000 SAP installations running on Microsoft Windows, the two companies said, and deeper integration between NetWeaver and Microsoft's .Net software architecture--both of which are based on Web services--will make it easier for businesses to share functionality between SAP enterprise applications and Microsoft Office.

"It means that you can better leverage your investments because you get improved interoperability between the two platforms," Henning Kagermann, SAP's chairman and CEO, told a packed auditorium at the conference in New Orleans.

This summer SAP will begin a beta software developers' kit for Microsoft .Net to help programmers develop capabilities for SAP's Enterprise Portal running on Windows.

In August, SAP will deliver the next version of the SAP .Net Connector so businesses can more easily integrate their SAP apps with systems built on .Net. New functions in the Connector will include greater language support for Visual Basic .Net, better integration with Visual Studio .Net, and better security and control.

Early next year, Microsoft will deliver repository managers that integrate knowledge-management functions within NetWeaver, Windows SharePoint Services, and Microsoft Exchange Server.

SAP also plans to spend a good part of this year adding capabilities to NetWeaver, its application backbone disclosed in January 2003 that leverages Web services so companies can more easily add functions and integrate with non-SAP systems. Beginning this year, every new application SAP ships will be built on NetWeaver, which is the foundation for what SAP calls the Enterprise Service Architecture.

"Enterprise services are services on a business level that businesses understand, such as available to promise. They are a combination of Web services and the services of our applications," Kagermann said. This year, SAP plans to deliver services designed to help companies better collaborate with their customers and business partners. Next year, SAP will deliver an initial version of Enterprise Services Repository and plans to continue to roll out more services. By 2007, SAP's entire mySAP Business Suite will be compliant with the Enterprise Services Architecture. "This is a big commitment from SAP," Kagermann said. "And we will deliver on this road map."

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