SAP Purchases Piece of R/3 Modeling Firm

SAP AG, the enterprise-applications software leader that traditionally has eschewed acquisitions, has purchased a 25% stake in a Saarbrucken, Germany, firm, IDS Prof. Scheer GmbH. SAP has worked for several years with the Scheer firm, which markets Aris, a Windows-based software product for modeling changes in business processes.

Founded by August Wilhelm Scheer, director of the Institute of Business Data Processing at the University of Saarland in Saarbrucken, the modeling-software firm's product is tightly integrated with SAP's R/3 and closely parallels its functionality. It is considered an important aid for companies looking to speed the implementation of SAP, since it allows them to see the impact new business processes will have on the rest of the corporation. IDS Prof. Scheer has annual sales of about $50 million and is privately held.

SAP's investment in IDS Prof. Scheer is considered significant for two reasons: it breaks stride with the German software giant's tradition of avoiding equity investment in other firms, and it is further proof of SAP's continuing emphasis on finding ways to speed implementation of its software.

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