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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Surgut, SAP Plan Online Exchange

German business software developer SAP and oil major Surgutneftegaz have announced plans to create an Internet trading platform, and in the process have kicked off competition for the country's coveted corporate systems market.

Surgut representatives said last week they plan to use the Internet platform, built on SAB software, to handle purchase operations, conclude contracts and conduct electronic payments. SAP is the world leader on the enterprise resource planning, or ERP, software market.

The trading platform will be based on SAP's Marketplace. SAP's primary enterprise resource planning product is the R/3 system.

Marko Burghard, SAP's managing director for the former Soviet Union, said the first active system based on will be demonstrated this week in Berlin.

News of the SAP/Surgut project was expected to be followed by a similar announcement from SAP's main competitor, Oracle, which is planning to organize Internet trading platforms for the regions.

"Most trading on Russian sites is conducted without Back Office ERP systems," said Oracle marketing manager Mikhail Yelashkin. "But such sites are worthless when trading volumes increase."

To support their work on the fast-growing trading systems market, ERP system creators have developed CRM, or customer relations management software, which allows the ERP systems to communicate with clients.

CRM software replaces sales clerks and customer service managers, allowing vendors to keep track of clients' accounts on the Internet. SAP's CMR product - - has a counterpart at Oracle, called Oracle CRM.

Depending on a business's needs, additional support is usually necessary for exchanges, trading portals and retailers. SAP fills that need with Marketplace, while Oracle offers Oracle Exchange.

Ford and General Motors launched their own portal exchange last month based on Oracle Exchange. The companies' dealers can use the site to purchase parts, accessories and equipment. The system instantaneously transfers orders to the car giants' ERP system, which automatically maintains inventories, handles shipping and coordinates other related operations.

According to Oracle representatives, the portal has proven so successful that other carmakers are showing an interest in creating their own system.

When it comes to the local market, both Oracle and SAP are focusing on finding partners with established positions in their industries. Surgut was a natural choice for SAP, which has a near monopoly in corporate systems in the oil and gas sector. Oracle's strong presence in the metallurgy industry has led to expectations that a metallurgy trading site might soon be established based on Oracle technology.

Representatives from two of the companies' smaller competitors on the world ERP market, Ariba and Commerce One, said they have no plans as yet to enter the Russian market.