Sapphire 09: From Sapphire to green - the event highlights
SAP's Sapphire 09 event in Florida this week may have been a little light when it came to big product announcements but there were a few gems still to be found - and rumours to be quashed!
By Stuart Lauchlan, news and analysis editor
Outside of its Business Objects Explorer push, SAP's Sapphire conference was relatively thin on ground in terms of further product announcements. An exception to that was the release of the integrated SAP CRM application on the Blackberry.
The new BlackBerry Sales Client for SAP CRM provides sales reps with real-time access to customer information in SAP CRM. "The integration of SAP CRM with BlackBerry smartphones provides simple, quick mobile access to customer information," says Bob Stutz, corporate officer and member of the executive council at SAP.
The firm is claiming the new offering boasts several key innovations for mobile CRM, such as the fact that users can gain access to up-to-date client information from a BlackBerry smartphone, including contacts, sales leads and logged activities in a few clicks. The new solution can also be set to automatically push all customer data updates in the SAP CRM system immediately to the user, as well as push sales leads to the sales representative's BlackBerry smartphone inbox with one-click access to the new information. Access to CRM data any time and anywhere is provided, while a local cache system allows access to certain information even if the user is outside of network coverage.
SAP also unveiled its 2008 Sustainability Report showing how the company reduced greenhouse emissions by 6.7% last year, with a goal of slashing emissions to 2000 levels by 2020. It plans to cut waste by using cardboard and paper for software compact disk packaging instead of plastic. And to reduce energy consumption, SAP is reducing office temperatures and investing in heat pumps.
Leo Apotheker, CEO SAP.
The firm has also bought sustainability specialist Clear Standards, a privately-owned company that makes internal software to meet regulatory goals and measure and monitor environmental impacts, such as greenhouse gas emissions, waste and water use. "It is essential that organisations gain actionable insight into their carbon emissions, water consumption, energy use and other environmental factors so they can lower their environmental impact," says SAP CEO Leo Apotheker. "With the acquisition of Clear Standards, we will accelerate our vision to deliver a complete set of solutions to enable end-to-end sustainable businesses."
Elsewhere, IT services provider Cognizant announced a tie-up with SAP for a global services partnership. "Cognizant has consistently demonstrated close alignment with SAP and its elevation to a global services partner marks a significant milestone in our relationship," says Zia Yusuf, executive vice president, global ecosystem and partner group at SAP. "This expanded partnership is a testament to our collaborative relationship and an important part of our strategy to expand our ecosystem to drive continued customer success."
Finally, an announcement of something that's NOT happening. As Sapphire kicked off in Orlando, those rumours about Microsoft buying SAP started to do the rounds on Wall Street after Microsoft sold $3.75bn in debt in its first bond offering. Apothekar says he believes customers wanted SAP to remain independent, while Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer states: "I have nothing to say about rumours of acquisitions ... positively or negatively. It strikes me as a random rumour."