SAP extends RFID partnerships

SAP resellers will benefit from the company’s expanding moves in RFID, says an executive of the company’s Canadian division.

Jeffrey Watts, SAP Canada’s senior vice-president of channels and marketing, said its VARs will only gain from the company’s recent product partnership with handheld

manufacturer Intermec Technologies and a research alliance with Intel Corp.

“This is increasing our commitment [to RFID], increasing the solution offerings that we’re providing to the channel today and clarifying where we’re going forward in the future,” said Watts.

RFID, a short-range wireless bar code technology that can be used for tracking products, has been increasingly used for many applications in the past few years.

Application companies are working with the technology tolink the data gathered to databases and enterprise resource management suites.

There are, however, limitations including emerging standards, the price of tags and certain materials, which obstruct signals.

However industry analysts agree that its use will only increase in the future, especially because major retailers in the U.S. are pushing its adoption.

In recent announcements SAP said that through its U.S. subsidiary, SAP America, it will partner with Intermec to offer that company’s Easy Automatic Data Collection (EasyACD) platform within Business One.

The platform enables bar code data collection and automates activities from inventory tracking shipping and receiving to printing bar code labels, said SAP in a news release.

SAP has about a dozen Business One VARs in Canada, including The Ram Group of Vaughan, Ont.

“I think SAP’s smart by jumping on this early with Intermec,” said Richard Lichtenstein, the company’s vice-president of business development. Intermec has a lot of RFID experience, he said, and EasyACD is a practical solution for use today.

Many RAM customers are interested in RFID technology, he added. While they don’t need it immediately, they are choosing software suppliers who have an RFID strategy.

Also this month SAP and Intel announced they will work together to make RFID technology easier to use.

The aim is to give customers the ability to integrate RFID hardware into backend systems and business processes in a plug-and-play manner.

No date for the proposed solution’s release was given. However, it will be tailored for SAP’s mySAP Supply Chain Management application, which its direct sales force sells to enterprises.

In a study last week Forrester Research declared that RFID “will dramatically change the way companies gather product information, track inventory, and generate sales. It will impact supply chain management and drive up margins.”

But it also noted that RFID suppliers have to prepare to accommodate this new market. Before selling RFID technology, they must know how companies will buy it. Much of RFID spending won’t originate from IT budgets, but from operational budgets, it said.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer. Former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, Howard has written for several of ITWC's sister publications, including Before arriving at ITWC he served as a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times.

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