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SAP has hundreds of software applications, services and solutions.  Why do they seem to be spending significant efforts this year on a strategy for EDI and B2B communications and support?  In the past they left this market up to third party EDI translator vendors and VANs.  I can’t speak for SAP, but a look at some of their new solutions may shed light on this question.

  • SAP SNC (Supplier Network Collaboration)  – Through SNC, customers and suppliers can simultaneously eliminate inefficiencies in their supply chains by synchronizing the flow of information between them. SNC offers a 360 degree view on supply chain collaboration, offering a company ways to effectively collaborate with its customers, suppliers, 3 rd party logistics providers and outsourced manufacturing partners.
  • SAP TM (Transportation Management) – With the SAP Transportation Management application, you can share information and combine orders directly with carriers and forwarders over the Internet, so you can integrate business partners into your company’s processes and maintain control of plans.

Both of these SAP solutions are dependent on EDI and B2B communications and messages to work.  The solutions offer little value without.  Therefore, you can understand their desire to actively manage and ensure quick, cost effective and reusable EDI and B2B implementations and support for their customers.

As more and more companies are spread across wide geographical areas and utilize contract manufacturers from all regions of the world, the need for EDI and B2B increases dramatically.  I believe SAP no longer wants to remain vulnerable to the quality of third party EDI translator and VAN companies.  They want to ensure their customers have an SAP-centric EDI and B2B solution that supports the requirements of SAP applications.

Late last year SAP invested in and became a co-owner of an SAP-centric EDI and B2B exchange that is being incorporated into upcoming SAP Enhancement Packages.

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