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12/8/2009
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SAP Outlines Five-Year Enterprise Software Plan

SAP's unfolding strategy emphasizes on-demand computing, cloud architectures, flexible pricing, mobile and in-memory computing.

SAP executives at their annual Influencer Summit in Boston on Tuesday laid out a broad outline of the company's five-year product and technology vision. They emphasized integrated business analytics, software packages, and on-demand, cloud-based extensions to applications, to enable customers to avoid difficult upgrades while tapping new capabilities.

Several trends are behind SAP's strategic thrust, including the evolution of in-memory computing and analytics, the pervasiveness of mobile users, and the overall desire of customers to deploy applications quickly, SAP chief technology officer Vishal Sikka said.

With the cost of memory dropping and speed increasing, in-memory computing and analytics will allow for complex "real, real time" analytics of business data, Sikka said. "Limitless amounts of data can be analyzed, with the ability for users to ask any questions," he said.

Business analytics will continue to be integrated into SAP's product suite. For example, financial applications will be packaged with the templates and tools for financial services users to do on the fly calculation and analysis regardless of where structured or unstructured data resides.

The pervasiveness of mobile computing and social networking also have SAP developing applications and extensions, which will allow wireless users to collaborate and utilize SAP and non-SAP related data for on the fly computing.

"Sixty to seventy percent of the population have mobile devices" said Don Bulmer SAP VP industry relations, adding that mobile gear is the preferred communications and computing platform. "There are lots of opportunities for SAP," he said.

SAP users want to be able to use social networking sites such as Facebook to collaborate, said SAP executive board member Jim Hagemann Snabe. "Companies want to take advantage of these technologies without disrupting business," he said.

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