ERP Portals Add Travel Booking
ERP Portals Add Travel BookingA Unique Partnership
By Mary Ann McNulty
Taking their cue from the Internet portal leaders, enterprise resource planning vendors SAP and Oracle are showcasing travel booking in their newly announced corporate portals, or gateways to a business' information. PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards also are announcing portal strategies, but it was unclear at press time when, or if, travel will be on their horizon.
Just as Excite, Microsoft, Netscape, Yahoo and others battle for "eyeballs" by providing the ultimate in one-stop shopping, news and stock quotes, the big ERP vendors are planning to launch their own Web portals, providing everything from travel and expense reporting to business applications, data to analysis.
At its European user conference this month, SAP AG told the 6,000 participants of its plan for a third-quarter release of mySAP.com, a combination of software, services, information and Web infrastructure technology for end-to-end commerce, including travel. SAP will use the travel booking engine of Internet Travel Network of Palo Alto, Calif.
"We want to make premier services such as ITN effortlessly available to our customers through the SAP portal and have them be fully integrated into the customer's business environments," Hasso Plattner, co-chairman and CEO of SAP AG, said at the meeting in Nice, France.
ITN president and CEO Gadi Maier said "this collaborative effort is a great example of how ITN helps corporations connect to the 'Net economy. MySAP provides ITN with the perfect opportunity to reach millions of new users."
The partnership is rather unusual in that SAP this summer expects to begin showing ITN what it and Amadeus have been jointly developing for its client-server based ERP. The pact with Amadeus, including a joint travel planning competence center at SAP headquarters in Walldorf, Germany, was announced in 1997. (BTN, Oct. 6, 1997).
When asked to comment on the ITN deal, an Amadeus spokesperson in North America said the goal remains focused on delivering a "fully integrated travel module for corporations, with full travel policy compliance integrated into R/3."
Oracle last year introduced self-service Web applications including a travel expense reporting product. It added an online booking engine with its acquisition in March of E-Travel (BTN, March 22). It, too, is expected to debut a portal later this year.
PeopleSoft this month also announced plans for a Business Network portal scheduled to debut this fall. At press time, executives were unavailable to detail plans for travel applications.
"For PeopleSoft, e-business represents an entirely new end-user experience, enabling people to accomplish a variety of business goals more efficiently and effectively over the Internet," said Tom Glassanos, who heads the PSBN.
Denver-based J.D. Edwards on Wednesday will debut its ActivEra Portal; it declined to reveal details until then.
SAP, Oracle and other enterprise vendors have become the latest in a long line to promise end-to-end products to streamline booking, and expense and management reporting. But Philip Wolf, president of Sherman, Conn.-based PhoCusWright, isn't too impressed by plans to include travel booking in corporate portals. "Corporate travel booking is the sleeping giant of Internet travel space," he said, "and it will take more than an ERP to awaken this giant. Leisure bookings are booming, while corporations are struggling to get travelers to use the automated booking systems they're deploying.
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