SAP Launches Business Suite 7

SAP launched Business Suite 7 on Wednesday, pitching the software as a more flexible and cost-effective option amid lean economic times.

The new suite includes more than 150 new "functional innovations" that span the gamut from areas like CRM (customer relationship management) and SCM (supply chain management) to industry-specific applications. It also continues SAP's emerging "enhancement package" strategy, which allows users to add functionality they want without the pain of a full upgrade.

Business Suite 7 is a major watershed for SAP, as it aligns the vendor's various modules for the first time on a single underlying platform, according Forrester Research analyst Ray Wang.

SAP "had to" do this, Wang said.

"People have had this perception that it's this one integrated system, but the reality is the [system integrators] have been tying all these [modules] together, making them work," he said.

SAP move is also meant to lure customers on older SAP systems, such as R/3, to adopt its NetWeaver platform, which is required for Business Suite 7, Wang added.

SAP will reveal more about the release, which also features improved user interfaces and blends in BI (business intelligence) functionality acquired through the company's acquisition of Business Objects, during an event Wednesday in New York City.

(More to follow from the launch event.)

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