SAP acquires SAF to beef up its demand forecasting technology

SAP AG, the provider of enterprise software used by many large retailers and other companies, is beefing up its web-enabled demand forecasting technology with the acquisition of SAF AG.

"For SAP, the retail and wholesale industries are an important market with significant growth potential," SAP says. "Companies in these industries increasingly prefer software that offers standardized and integrated business processes from corporate headquarters to the warehouse to the store level. Insightful sales forecasts, greater transparency of stock level and replenishment orders and process automation through forward-looking software solutions are recognized more and more as areas of significant importance in gaining competitive advantage."

SAP will offer the SAF technology as part of its SAP for Retail software suite, building on the prevous work integrating SAP and SAF technology, says Leslie Hand, a retail technology analyst at research and advisory firm IDC.

"SAF, already a very good SAP partner with numerous integrations under its belt and portions of its forecasting engine already embedded in SAP`s retail applications, will now be positioned to leverage SAF`s strengths more fully," Hand says. "In the announcement, SAP discusses making the SAF platform core to its customer-centric platform. We believe this is a critical strategic move on SAP`s part that will enable it to compete much more strongly with Oracle demand forecasting platform capabilities and the array of specialty vendors crowding this space." Oracle Corp. is a major competitor of SAP in supplying business software to major corporations.