SAP Watch

Jun 8 2007   3:50PM GMT

SAP and Web 3.0

JackDanahy Jack Danahy Profile: JackDanahy

Most IT workers I talk to have trouble getting up to speed with Web 2.0. Isn’t it asking for trouble to start talking about Web 3.0 in that case? Apparently, SAP doesn’t seem to think so.

ZDNet’s Dan Farber reports a “dog and pony show” surrounding the opening of SAP’s new Palo Alto lab, where SAP execs predictably talked about stuff like the importance of collaboration, the upcoming SAP A1S ERP on-demand solution, and of course, Web 3.0. From Farber’s post:

“If you look to the services that we are defining with our enterprise SOA and things a bit beyond, we know that these type of enterprise services over time, in collaboration with many customers, associations and partners, a kind of standard can bring the Internet of business services,” Kagermann said. “We don’t have the semantics today that go beyond Web 2.0 and will allow software to to speak to each other.”

There’s the keyword: Semantics. The oft-cited example of Web 3.0 is a “smart” scheduling app that handles the eternal back-and-forth between meeting participants automatically. Problem is, beyond that, Web 3.0 is rather fuzzy. How can you look at a product and say: “This here piece o’ software is Web 2.0, while that app over there is Web 3.0”? More importantly, what does this concept really mean for SAP shops, and what practical benefits vs. costs are we looking at?

While not SAP-specific, David Siegel provides a pretty good explanation on his blog. Everything in the future will be smart, he says, not just scheduling apps but mundane stuff like chasing down the best flight (enter your preferences and let the computer run the two dozen searches on Orbitz). He also uses an example of a team of construction engineers working a lighting challenge to highlight the potential collaboration benefits of Web 3.0.

The key to getting there is enabling computers to interpret “human-readable” phrases rather make a loose guess based on just keywords. For a SAP shop, this could be a boon to areas like analytics and reporting, or bringing truly personalized CRM into the world. Other areas that could use a boost of “smarts” would be logistics, SCM, or pretty much any scenario where you need to tap into multiple heterogenous solutions.

That’s the benefit portion. Cost and maintenance remains largely an unknown at this point. Of course, time will tell how far these theoretical scenarios will play out in reality, but we’re going to dive deeper into this in the weeks ahead. Stand by for a comprehensive Web 3.0 for SAP overview by Eric Samuels!

Matt Danielsson

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  • Mario Ruiz
    I share your vision that semantics is the next stop in this train. I like to ask however what exactly do we mean by that. The broad sense of semantics is the study of the meaning of the language. This leave room for almost anything. Do you have a specific example of this. Mario Ruiz
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