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SAP "Moving Faster Than Java Was 10 Years Ago," Says Agassi

SAP Exec Board Member Shai Agassi Draws Comparison

Former Sun Java executive George Paolini was in the audience, now an SAP employee. Along with several partner executives, the respective CEOs of SAP AG and SAP America, and a couple hundred reporters and analyst, he was attending an SAP briefing at Sapphire '05 in Boston.

He didn't dispute the assertion, by SAP AG Executive Board Member Shai Agassi that SAP was now "moving faster than Java was 10 years ago." Agassi's broad statement was in line with the company's position that it represents "the next big thing" in IT, just as Java was hailed as a transformational technology that helped ignite the dot-com boom in 1995. The company clearly believes that it will transform enterprise IT, as it moves aggressively into enterprise applications with its Enterprise Services Architecture (ESA). Agassi was careful to point out that the company hoped "we won't have a bubble (similar to the dot-com bubble) forming around our strategy, but that instead its viewed as a key industry driver."

The ESA strategy, which SAP AG CEO Henning Klagermann described as "SOA taken to the next level" earlier in the day, has been developed about halfway through a company roadmap that is scheduled to be complete in 2007. A broad agreement with Microsoft to integrate SAP technology into the Microsoft Office Professional environment forms a keystone of this new strategy. A key philosophy behind the strategy is to break existing value chains and reform them through the use of business decisions to determine which areas can be specialized and refined, and which areas can be consolidated.

SAP executives were certainly enthusiastic about announcing a major new customer win with Home Depot, the $80 billion home improvement giant that is the clear leader in its category and which had antiquated IT systems as recently as a few years ago, according to Home Depot CIO Bob deRodes. "Our CEO couldn't send an e-mail to store managers only five years ago," he said. "We were just taking the 'stack it high' and 'watch it fly' approach during much of our growth phase. But now we are moving to be the industry leader, with SAP as our enterprise IT partner."

During the same briefing, SAP America CEO Bill McDermott was trenchant in his comments about SAP in the CRM space, stating that the company has been winning against Siebel Systems, whether the customer wanted a standalone installation or was integrating CRM into its overall IT architecture. "(So-called) best-of-breed is dead," he said. "When it comes to CRM, SAP wins."

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SAP News Desk trawls the world's news information sources and brings you timely updates on the world's leading provider of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and its various software product lines used to integrate back-office functions such as distribution, accounting, human resources, and manufacturing.

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