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SAP Is Getting Serious About Collaboration, Open Source

SAP’s seeming lack of on-demand—and therefore modern—products has kept the brand under heavy fire for a pretty long time now. SAP does have cloud-based products though, and SAP CRM On-Demand has been on the market for a couple years now. The problem is that we seem to be constantly hearing about what the company intends to accomplish cloud-wise, and are seeing very little of it. So while SAP isn’t the antediluvian software provider that some SaaS-advocates have made it out to be, when it seems like the company is all talk and no action, it’s difficult to believe otherwise.

For their part, SAP wants the public to know that when they do dive into the cloud, they’ll be doing so whole-heartedly. Their cloud-based business suite, Business ByDesign, is supposed to have a general release sometime this year, and then there’s SAP’s foray into collaboration software: StreamWork. When the product was first open for beta testing it was known as “12sprints,” but StreamWork appears to be the moniker they’re sticking with.

Collaboration software is a hot-button topic right now, as it represents one of the many manifestations of social networking in the workplace. Another emerging trend in software—enterprise and otherwise—is open source technology. StreamWork is going to be both of those things, and the folks at ReadWriteWeb are calling it the platform that’s going to “extend SAP’s relevance.” StreamWork integrates with SAP Business Objects, the back-office solution, and with Google Open Social to pull third-party data.

In other SAP-open source technology news, the software giant has invested heavily in MuleSoft, a company that develops open-source technology integration services. SAP Ventures was one of many companies to bring MuleSoft’s Series C funding to $12 million, so while their motivations are clear, the certain terms of SAP leveraging that technology are not.

News about StreamWork might just be more talk about all the things SAP is going to do to modernize, but it definitely sounds like a good product so far. Alex Williams at ReadWriteWeb shared some insight after viewing a demo of the product, and it sounds like StreamWork will have a major leg up in the enterprise collaboration competition, given that the product is “not for playing around.” Collaboration functions are all about streamlining processes and effective decision making, and it’ll be interesting to see what place the platform takes in the market.

SAP’s image is suffering a bit while they have no firm on-demand ERP offering, but if they can crank out Business ByDesign and StreamWork sooner rather than later, they could be in a totally different place this time next year. We’ll have to wait and see.

[Photo courtesy of axerosolutions.]