SAP Taps Novell for StreamWork Collaboration Service

by Sean Michael Kerner

New collaborative decision-making app from SAP takes to the cloud, with Novell's tech under the hood.

Helping enterprises take action based on enterprise data sources is the focus of a new solution from SAP called StreamWork Enterprise Edition. With StreamWork Enterprise edition, SAP (NYSE: SAP) is delivering a collaborative decision-making (CDM) solution that is available in an on demand cloud model that also includes mobile access for Android users via a Google Apps Marketplace app.

The new StreamWork Enterprise solution leverages virtualization efforts from Novell to deliver a software appliance version that is powered by Linux. The new deal with SAP comes at a time of transition for Novell, as it winds down its life as public company and is set to be acquired by Attachmate for $2.2 billion.

"The goal of the product is to help people in teams address ad hoc work, things like creating budgets, brainstorming and strategizing, all the things that don't fit in to a regular process," Holly Simmons, SAP's senior director of product marketing for OnDemand, told InternetNews.com.

Simmons said StreamWork brings together people and information and also provides tools for applying structure to the conversation, and users can brainstorm in a structured manner. With the enterprise edition, StreamWork is tied into enterprise data systems to help inform the decisions. StreamWork Enterprise Edition enables users of the on-demand cloud service to securely access their on-premise data systems that are sitting behind the firewall.

Initially, the SAP data sources that StreamWorks will integrate with are SAP's CRM, PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) and Business Objects business intelligence solutions. Simmons noted that StreamWork has been built in an open way, with a number of APIs available to help bring in data from enterprise systems.

Additionally, StreamWork Enterprise provides social networking intelligence features. Simmons explained that the tool maps the organization and then creates a social network out of the organization so users can find experts within their organization.

Novell Inside

At the heart of the SAP StreamWork appliance is Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), which is the underlying operating system technology. Novell has technology called the SUSE Linux Appliance Toolkit that enables software vendors to build software appliances with SLES.

Novell and SAP already have Linux appliance integration with the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications offering.

"StreamWork is a little different in that when you buy it, you get SLES underneath it," Josh Dorfman, Novell's director of global alliances marketing, told InternetNews.com. "With SLES for SAP applications, there are wizards and workflows to get things up and running, but this is different in that StreamWorks has already been pre-configured."

While SAP will be reselling Novell SLES as part of the StreamWorks solution, SAP is not buying a bulk amount of support from Novell. Novell in the past has sold bulk packages of SLES subscriptions to Microsoft, which Microsoft in turn resells.

"While the terms of the agreement are private, there is no pre-purchase involved with this solution," Dorfman said. "It is a traditional OEM distribution agreement."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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  This article was originally published on Monday Dec 6th 2010
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