SAP beefs up NetWeaver with acquisition
To bolster its NetWeaver integration platform, SAP has made a "majority asset" acquisition of A2i Inc., which includes the development rights to the company's xCat System suite of products.
Available this fall as an update to the 2004 version of NetWeaver, SAP Master Data Management (MDM) will incorporate A2i's xCat technology which the company hopes will enable product content management, data aggregation and harmonisation, as well as better Web-based electronic catalogues for both sell-side and procurement deployments.
SAP already has an MDM capability. It utilizes components from SAP's Exchange Infrastructure, Business Intelligence, Knowledge Management and Enterprise Portal to essentially derive a common view of reference data—definitions of customers, suppliers, products and parts—and synchronises that data.
MDM works by integrating both the data and the applications that support business processes. In the mix are analytical and search capabilities that enable users to identify identical or similar data objects across systems. At the same time, the software cleanses objects to keep the master data consistent. MDM adapters receive data from third-party systems and unify that data into a common format.
Using A2i's xCat technology, SAP also plans to add new functionality to its MDM module, including high-performance search capabilities as well as intelligent image and document management and print catalogue publishing capabilities. It also plans to add an integrated global data synchronization capability geared toward the retail and consumer product verticals.
"We are not looking for huge acquisition targets, nor do we want to buy market share or customers," Henning Kagermann, SAP's chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "Rather, we will seek to acquire and integrate those complementary technologies that we do not yet have or cannot develop at a comparable cost or speed ourselves."