Big Blue and Brown: Varsity and UPS Join SAP in Partnership
September 28, 2010 Alex Woodie
Shipping is about to get easier for companies that rely on ERP software from SAP running on IBM i servers. As part of a new partnership involving SAP, UPS, and IBM i shipping software developer Varsity Logistics, SAP on i customers will be able to drive the Varsity shipping applications directly from their SAP ERP screens.
There are several elements to the new partnership involving UPS, Varsity, and SAP, which Varsity announced on the last day of August.
For starters, Varsity developed a pre-built interface for exchanging data between SAP’s R/3 and All in One ERP suites and ShipSoft, the name of Varsity’s IBM i-based shipping software for freight and parcel. Varsity says this interface enables the SAP software to effectively “drive” the ShipSoft software, which automates shipping processes with major carriers.
The connector was developed specifically for customers that rely on UPS to ship parcel and freight and also run SAP’s ERP software on the IBM i operating system. Running both the SAP and ShipSoft applications on the same System i or Power Systems server simplifies operations for IT personnel and provides the best performance and reliability, the company argues.
The second aspect of the new alliance is a series of discounts that Varsity is offering on ShipSoft for SAP customers. Companies that buy ShipSoft version 2.7 before the end of October can get a 20 percent discount on license fees, and another 3 percent knocked off the first year’s maintenance fee.
Varsity is also touting the experience of one SAP customer that has experienced good returns with the ShipSoft-SAP combo. Sunglasses distributor Stylemark ships about 1,300 parcels per day via UPS and FedEx from its three distribution centers. The company relies on a custom-developed connection between ShipSoft and SAP to ensure that order and shipping information is available where it needs to be.
According to the Varsity case study, Stylemark utilizes JDBC and RFC connections to move data between ShipSoft and SAP, enabling the SAP application to run on any platform. With the new connector, IBM i shops will not have to create their own custom connections.
Varsity president Chris Anderson has high hopes for the integrated IBM i-based solution involving Varsity, ShipSoft, and SAP. “Varsity Logistics has the experience and expertise within the SAP community to deliver the products and skill set to provide a best of breed solution to that market,” he says.