SAP is preparing to launch a potential rival to Google Wave. The application, code-named Constellation, is described as a “virtual war room” where co-workers can collaborate in real-time with information aggregated from different data sources.
The cloud-based tool is now in private beta with the code name 12Sprints. The application is being developed by SAP’s Business Objects division.
Constellation demonstrates once again how much effort is being placed on cloud-based collaboration platforms that pull in disparate data sources, stitched together into one lightweight environment. What’s unique is how these environments are almost separate from the legacy IT infrastructure that at times looks almost antiquated compared to its web-based counterparts in the cloud.
That’s the opportunity Google sees with Google Wave, as do other competitors such as PBWorks, MindTouch and a number of other companies looking to bask in the shiny lights of the collaborative universe.
According to IDG, which received a demo of the technology, Constellation works best with five to thirty users. There will be the capability to publish to a wider audience through wikis, Sharepoint and other platforms.
SAP is also working on an on-premise application, but the initial focus is definitely on the cloud. Users will be able to access their enterprise data by tunneling into the app.
For example, buying decisions can be more collaborative as purchasing data can be viewed by a group who can then discuss and make decisions.
Applications like what we see with Constellation illustrate how important it is becoming for the enterprise to become more transparent with its information. Email is a data trap. But voice calls can be the same way. Platforms like Constellation open information to a far larger community.
As part of its offering, SAP will create an application marketplace where developers, for instance, can sell the integrations that they create.
Again, SAP’s web-based approach sounds very much like an API integration strategy. SAP maintains they are talking with Google Wave and are eager to see how the products work together.
The question will become how SAP’s Constellation will enable developers to pull in all the pieces and how accessible it will be for the average business user.
No pricing has been set for Constellation. A free version is planned. Constellation is expected to launch in the first half of next year.