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SAP AG has upgraded its Business One e-business suite to enable subsidiaries and small businesses to better communicate with their corporate offices running R/3.

Version 2004 of Business One, announced last week, is geared toward the Walldorf, Germany, company’s installed base of large enterprises, as well as small and midsize businesses, and provides a single, unified view of near-real-time information across a company.

That integrated view makes it easier for information to be communicated between SAP’s R/3 and Business One users, said Jose Berrios, CIO of Vetco International Ltd. Berrios went with Business One, rather than Microsoft Corp.’s Great Plains software for SMBs, because it will provide his oil company customers with near-real-time, consistent information. “The moment I hit an order, every single other person in the company has their update,” said Berrios in Orlando, Fla. “It’s not done in batch at the end of the day like Great Plains. When someone places an order, it’s on my system.”

Berrios plans to integrate Business One with the R/3 platforms of his five largest customers next year. He’s running Business One 5.6 now and plans to implement the 2004 version by year’s end.

Version 2004 will include better capabilities for MRP (material requirements planning), which provides manufacturers with a tool for managing planning as an integrated element of their core system. An MRP wizard lets users manage material planning and define planning scenarios based on a variety of criteria—and to create custom planning scenarios. Also upgraded is the CRM (customer relationship management) module, which now integrates sales, service and other customer-facing functions, officials said.

The Business One 2004 upgrade also provides multiple database options, including Sybase Inc.’s Adaptive Server Enterprise, IBM’s DB2 Universal Database Express edition and Microsoft’s SQL Server.

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