SAP plans new scheduling capabilities –

SAP AG is adding new workforce management capabilities to its mySAP Retail offering, the company said Monday in New York at the National Retail Federation's annual convention.

The new Web-based offering will be out in the fourth quarter of this year, the company said. A key feature of the software will be an optimization engine aimed at assisting stores with staff scheduling by balancing variables such as employee skills, payroll requirements, workplace rules and employee availability.

The new product will also handle such tasks as reporting and forecasting, and is tailored for multi-location use, SAP said.

Much of the new software's functionality is based on StaffWorks, a product SAP picked up in its 1999 acquisition of Campbell Software Inc. StaffWorks now has an installed base of about 40 customers using it to run 20,000 licensed sites, according to SAP.

The new software will have "quite a bit of the flavor" of StaffWorks, said SAP product manager Lisa Jura, but customers planning to use the new offering won't have a straight migration path: While some data can be transferred from StaffWorks, the new software will require a fresh implementation.

However, SAP plans to continue supporting and extending StaffWorks, and in March will release a new version of the software, Jura said.

The new workforce management tools will be available as part of mySAP Retail, an offering in SAP's mySAP portfolio of Internet-connected e-business software. MySAP Retail is intended to facilitate operations such as customer service, supply-chain management and sales support.

The new software will also be available as a stand-alone offering, Jura said. Pricing has not yet been announced.

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