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SAP Enters the Cloud

DALLAS -- SAP AG announced the debut of two retail solutions today at its Retail Forum North America, a three-day event that continues through tomorrow.

Perhaps most noteworthy of the product introductions is the SAP Precision Retailing Solution. The cloud-based service allows retailers to engage with customers at the point of sale, Herve Plauche, vice president of the Retail Consumer Mobile Initiative at SAP, told CSNews Online during an interview.

"The customer will download the mobile app (application) on a smartphone," said Plauche. "They will then get product recommendations and special personalized offers."

Plauche added the app, which is free for consumers to download, is expected to go "live" before the end of this year.

Also announced at the event in Dallas was the release of the SAP Planning for Retail rapid-deployment solution. The software product enables real-time demand-driven forecasting and multi-year budget projections, according to SAP.

"Retailers with limited resources that need to keep up with seasonal rushes or changing product demand can have these fully integrated analytics solutions up and running within seven to 12 weeks on average," the company stated in a news release.

Also, SAP Planning for Retail produces detailed sales projections that can define corporate budgets three to five years in advance. "Retailing today is all about real-time data, but many planning solutions cannot pull it off," said Barry Adam, solution director, SAP Planning for Retail. "SAP Planning for Retail is the ideal solution because it delivers pinpoint demand and financial forecasting out-of-the-box with end-to-end functionality. Retailers finally have a better option than using [Microsoft] Excel as their principal planning tool."

In addition, SAP today announced the availability of its ERP Customer Order Entry mobile app, which is available at the SAP Store. The mobile app connects an Apple iPhone into the sales and distribution systems of wholesale distributors and consumer product providers, enabling their customers to have mobile access to supply orders in real time," the software manufacturer relayed.

"Mobile access opens up supply chains to a greater number of users on the ground," said Simon Ellis, practice director, Supply Chain Strategies Practice Area, IDC Manufacturing Insights. "SAP ERP Customer Order Entry helps companies to better manage inventory levels so that demand is always on par with supply."

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