At its SAPPHIRE(R) ’97 user conference today, SAP AG announced that R/3(TM) Release 4.0 will be shipping to customers by year-end 1997 and will be generally available by the second quarter of 1998.
The next major version of SAP’s enterprise solution, R/3 Release 4.0 delivers new best-in-class functionality, improved speed and flexibility, faster implementation and upgrades, and the most comprehensive extended supply-chain capabilities available.
With R/3 Release 4.0, new Business Components and complementary software products, SAP provides complete and enhanced business solutions for several industries, including retail, public sector and utilities. The addition of SAP Retail in R/3 Release 4.0 makes SAP the first vendor to offer extended supply-chain business processes from the point of product design to the point of consumption.
Mix-and-match solutions have traditionally provided specialized functionality at the expense of enterprisewide visibility and integration; with R/3 Release 4.0, companies no longer have to accept this trade-off.
Release 4.0, based on the SAP Business Framework(TM) component architecture, marks the first time SAP will deliver major new R/3 functionality through components, providing customers with a new level of speed and flexibility for integrating best-in-class business processes for industry-specific, business or global expansion — one component at a time.
R/3 Release 4.0 delivers the following:
— The most comprehensive financial applications, including a new Treasury component
— New logistics functionality, boosting SAP’s leadership in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) market
— A new Human Resources component, providing the broadest set of global capabilities available
— Complete and enhanced business solutions for supply chain, retail, public sector, utilities, and aerospace and defense
— Business Framework tools and integration technologies, providing unprecedented openness and flexibility
“R/3 Release 4.0 is a landmark release for SAP in terms of leveraging the Business Framework to expand into new markets and industries,” said Prof. Dr. Henning Kagermann, executive board member of SAP AG.
“It is not only a major release in terms of functionality, it demonstrates SAP’s commitment to delivering complete solutions for industries by integrating SAP components and third-party components.”
Best-in-Class Functionality Without Sacrificing Integration or Flexibility
By evolving R/3 into a family of integrated components with the Business Framework, SAP has been able to provide significant new capabilities with Business and Internet Components, each on its own release cycle independent of R/3. Further, SAP has dramatically enhanced the breadth and depth of its core capabilities.
Based on close collaboration with customers, SAP has overhauled and streamlined the end-user interaction for virtually all transactions and added a new “active” help facility for increased ease of use.
(In fact, so much is new in R/3 Release 4.0 that additional details on new functionality, components, industries and technology have been provided in separate news briefs. New Internet and Business Components that are also compatible with R/3 Release 3.x are indicated by Note A.)
— SAP delivers the world’s most comprehensive financial applications, which include enhancements to core financial functionality such as corporate costing with transfer pricing, activity-based costing, profitability simulation, and decentralized controlling and budgeting. Release 4.0 has opened up R/3 with new business event-based publish and subscribe capabilities. Further, SAP is adding new country versions for Argentina and Brazil and support for the new euro currency. In addition, SAP is delivering five new financial Business Components:
— Investment Controlling
— Joint Venture Accounting
“We worked closely with SAP on the development of Activity Based Costing in R/3 Release 4.0,” said David A. McDonald, senior director, operations control, Anheuser-Busch Inc. “This functionality will allow companies to focus not only on product costing, but also on the underlying business processes.”
— New R/3 Release 4.0 logistics functionality boosts SAP’s leadership in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) market with enhancements to the core applications, focusing on the extended supply chain including flow manufacturing, distribution resource planning, sequencing, euro price management, and credit and payment card handling. In addition, SAP is delivering several new Business and Internet Components:
— Sales Configuration Engine (SCE)(Note A)
— Product Data Management (PDM)(Note A)
— Available-to-Promise (ATP) Server
— Web-Based Catalog and Purchase Requisition System(Note A)
— New Human Resources (HR) component provides the broadest set of global capabilities available and is the first core application area of the SAP R/3 System to become a Business Component that can be either used independently or integrated, and can be upgraded on its own release cycle. A new Travel Management component is also available for HR or Financials. R/3 Release 4.0 adds support for euro and dual currency across HR and Payroll. In addition, SAP has doubled the number of countries supported with Payroll to 30, including Argentina, Brazil, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, and Venezuela.
— R/3 Release 4.0 adds advanced functionality and enhances the business solutions for several industries including retail, public sector, utilities, and aerospace and defense. The new SAP Retail solution completes SAP’s extended supply-chain offering from design and manufacturing through distribution to the point of consumption. In addition, enhancements to Financials, Logistics and HR provide significant new industry-specific functionality for the automotive, chemical, consumer goods, high-tech, engineering and construction, financial services, oil and gas, telecommunications, and pharmaceutical industries. (See related industry news briefs and fact sheets.)
— Business Framework, evolving within R/3 Release 4.0, provides new tools and integration technologies for unprecedented openness, flexibility and agility. Enhancements to Business Framework in the Release 4.0 time frame improve the ease of use and maintenance of R/3, extend its integration and openness based on industry standards (e.g., DCOM and Java), and accelerate initial implementation and continuous business process innovation for R/3 customers. (See today’s Business Framework news release and Business Engineer(TM) and related Business Framework technology news briefs.) Business Framework will allow SAP to complete the core componentization of the R/3 System by making Financials and Logistics independent Business Components with the next major release.
In addition, SAP’s new SCOPE initiative for supply-chain optimization, planning and execution — also announced today — fully leverages and complements the advanced logistics functionality of R/3 Release 4.0 to round out SAP’s end-to-end supply-chain solution.
Key to the SCOPE initiative is a new component called Advanced Planner and Optimizer (APO), which extends the R/3 System to provide high-performance real-time optimization, forecasting and graphical decision support. (See SCOPE news release.)
“SAP R/3 Release 4.0 once again raises the bar of core functionality that can be provided by enterprise resource management (ERM) vendors,” said Barry Wilderman, vice president, application development strategies, Meta Group.
“Consistent with the ERM framework, which recognizes the value of interenterprise commerce and the fact that planning — the ‘P’ in ERP — must be surrounded by core transaction processing, SAP’s new APO component illustrates the importance of combining planning and operations.”
AcceleratedSAP for Upgrades
SAP has built on its highly successful AcceleratedSAP(TM) rapid implementation initiative to create a new methodology to ensure a smooth and timely R/3 Release 4.0 upgrade process for customers currently using R/3 Release 2.2 and above.
SAP has also provided new tools to enable customers to perform much of the upgrade while their current production system is running, further reducing potential downtime during the upgrade. The new Business Engineer for Release 4.0 enables customers to upgrade and innovate their business process while ensuring consistency on a global basis.
SAP made the announcement at SAPPHIRE ’97, the company’s annual North American user conference. This year’s SAPPHIRE, held in Orlando, will draw more than 10,000 attendees and more than 100 corporate partners to participate in a series of forums for gathering and exchanging information on the future of enterprise computing and business strategies.
SAP is a market and technology leader in client/server enterprise application software, providing comprehensive solutions for companies of all sizes and all industry sectors.
Cultivating innovative technologies on a solid foundation of business experience, SAP delivers scalable solutions that enable its customers to continually improve upon best business practices. SAP products empower people to respond quickly and decisively to dynamic market conditions, helping businesses achieve and maintain a competitive advantage.
Founded in 1972, SAP is based in Walldorf, Germany, and employs more than 11,000 people at offices in more than 40 countries who are dedicated to providing a high level of support and service for the more than 11,000 installations of R/3 worldwide. SAP’s World Wide Web site can be found at [http://www.sap.com/.]