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toSaaS FromSAP Thomas R. Cutler reports on why SAP users are outsourcing ecommerce to software- as- a- service providers 12 www. bus- ex. com June 09

Infrastructure U sers of SAP's enterprise resource planning ( ERP) systems are increasingly outsourcing their ecommerce solutions to SaaS ( software as a service) vendors. A successful example of this trend can be found at the EFD division of Nordson Corporation, which recently strengthened its customer service capabilities through the implementation of an SAP integrated B2B ecommerce pilot program developed by b2b2dot0. EFD is a leading manufacturer of precision dispensing systems for the application of controlled amounts of the adhesives, sealants, lubricants, and other assembly fluids used in manufacturing processes. Products include air- powered benchtop dispensers, low- maintenance dispense valves for automated production lines, precision dispense tips, and dispensing robots. EFD parent Nordson has two SAP systems, one for its US businesses and another for its international businesses. The ecommerce software used with its domestic SAP system was purchased from Haht Commerce ten years ago, but Haht has since discontinued further development and support for the software. " We are currently in the process of consolidating SAP systems and will be migrating the US SAP users to the International SAP system," says Nordson's web developer, Jerry Berndobler. " We needed an ecommerce solution for the International SAP system so that the US businesses could continue providing ecommerce options to their domestic customers. Because the existing B2B ecommerce product currently used on our US system is no longer supported, it did not make sense to begin using it internationally. This drove us to begin searching for a new solution for our International system." Berndobler acknowledged that the biggest challenge Nordson faced was that there was no longer any support for the existing software. " We had a system that was ' frozen' and could not be easily upgraded or modified." For Nordson, cost, time to implement, and available internal resources were issues in searching for a new ecommerce solution. The company evaluated several different options: building a solution in- house, using an SAP solution, using a third- party solution and then integrating it with SAP, and using an outsourced solution. After all evaluations were completed, the outsourced solution fit most closely with the company's goals. " There are very few ecommerce options that are designed to work with SAP in the marketplace," commented Shelly Peet, vice president and chief information officer for Nordson. " Since our original ecommerce solution search ten years ago, the market has consolidated." For all but the simplest of SAP configurations, the SAP ecommerce June 09 www. bus- ex. com 13