We are apparently closer to finding out if what a Gartner analyst calls "a big bet for SAP" will pay off.
Thus far details on the product have been vague. Here's what we do know, thanks to a recent internetnews.com report: Called AIS, the product will employ a software-as-a-service delivery model to deliver ERP and CRM applications to companies on a subscription basis. It's geared toward SMBs. It will include Web 2.0ish features like widgets and mash-ups. It is reportedly built on a future version of SAP's NetWeaver platform.
"No one has ever proven they can sell this type of business technology this way. SAP is betting the profitability of the company that it will be able to do it," the Gartner analyst tells internetnews.com.
After two delays, SAP's EVP of marketing is promising a new announcement "soon, very soon."
Like other software giants including Microsoft and Oracle, SAP is struggling to develop an SaaS strategy that will not cannibalize its more traditional products.
Some folks are making the point that SAP, with its highly traditional business user base, seems like an unlikely fit for any product with a Web 2.0 orientation. A ZDNet article quotes the SAP executive responsible for bringing Web 2.0 features to the company's software: ""We have to be careful how we introduce new technology. We don't want to create a headache for IT organizations."