SAP plans for NetWeaver developer hub in Asia

The German software company is looking at creating a community of developers in the Asia-Pacific to work on SAP NetWeaver applications.

SINGAPORE--SAP Asia is pushing for more technology development in Singapore, preparing for what could lead to the island-state becoming a developer hub for SAP NetWeaver applications.

At a media briefing here on Wednesday, Simon Dale, vice president for SAP NetWeaver, SAP Asia, shared that SAP executive board member Shai Agassi had recently spoken of establishing an Enterprise Service Architecture (ESA) "city" in the Asia-Pacific region. The ESA is a program offering software and services for businesses to move towards a service-oriented architecture.

Eric MacDonald, SAP Asia's managing director for Singapore and Malaysia, expressed his hope of having the ESA city located in Singapore. To this end, he said that SAP Singapore is working on "getting the government's interest in the NetWeaver platform" to help spark greater industry support.

MacDonald added that he saw the potential for a number of "small businesses [in Singapore] that would be able to develop the NetWeaver platform", as well as to form a pool of developers.

"Singapore is not traditionally a development hub, but it is an IT hub… the infrastructure is fantastic," explained MacDonald. "We're saying 'Now, let's start to include the development'."

Dale said that SAP has the potential to grow in Web services applications, pointing to varying degrees of product penetration in industries such as manufacturing and banking.

The enterprise software giant has been busy forming partnerships in Singapore. Last month, it partnered the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) to organize a Chemical Industry Data Exchange (CIDX) forum. The forum's objective was to facilitate industry discussion and collaboration on business processes and B2B transaction issues.

In a move to engage its systems implementation partners better, SAP has set up a Partner Advisory Board. MacDonald said SAP will act as a consultant and identify training opportunities to help its partners attain the latest SAP product knowledge. Companies that are on the Partner Advisory Board include Accenture, Deloitte Consulting, Diagonal Consulting, ESP Consulting, National Computer Systems and Siemens Business Services. A similar board has also been set up in Malaysia.

At the SAP Summit 2005 Singapore conference held here this week, customers and partners sat through a demonstration of the beta version of Mendocino, the code-name project given to the technology tie-up between SAP and Microsoft. The companies are making it possible for companies to access SAP's applications using Microsoft Outlook.

The beta version, scheduled for release at the end of the year, is meant for early adopters identified by both companies, said Michel Gambier, Microsoft's general manager of Information Worker business in Asia-Pacific.

Gambier said that both Microsoft and SAP are in the partnership for the long term. "We're not stopping at version 1.0. The collaboration will evolve into more niche areas."