SAP rolls out wave of 'rapid deployment' apps

SAP is trying to steal some thunder from Oracle's Fusion with the fixed-price products

SAP is unleashing a set of "Rapid Deployment" software applications that can be rolled out in as little as 12 weeks, the company announced Wednesday.

The products include a combination of software, services and content at a predefined cost, and can be run on-premise or hosted by SAP or its partners. Subscription pricing is available for the applications, which will be launched initially in North America and German-speaking countries, SAP said.

The initial wave of Rapid Deployment applications includes modules for CRM (customer relationship management), SRM (supplier relationship management) and BCM (business communications management).

They are meant to support a particular business process, not replace an entire system. For example, one of the CRM products offers tools for developing marketing campaigns.

More Rapid Deployment offerings will be released over the next year in areas such as mobility, supply chain and manufacturing, SAP said.

SAP's announcement is the latest effort by the vendor to shed its image as a provider of monolithic, difficult-to-maintain ERP systems. In recent years it has rolled out a series of "enhancement packs" that help customers of its flagship Business Suite add significant new features without the pain of a full-blown upgrade.

The Rapid Deployment packs reflect a similar mentality and can also be seen as a competitive shot against rival Oracle, which is stressing the modular, easy-to-adopt nature of its upcoming Fusion Applications.

But they also echo SAP's 2008 "Best-Run Now" campaign, which pushed the notion of easily consumable, focused software packages.

There is a difference, said SAP spokesman Saswato Das via e-mail.

"Rapid Deployment solutions offer pre-configured solutions where the services are built specifically for these solutions, and include tools to help customers achieve rapid value from their investment," he said. "On the other hand, Best Run Now packages are packages composed from SAP software applications, focusing on solving a specific customer pain or business issue paired with corresponding service offerings."

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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