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Ash Soni
IU Department of Operations and Decision Technologies

Heather Czech
SAP University Alliances program

Last modified: Monday, December 13, 2004

SAP gift to IU Kelley School of Business enables hands-on experiences

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University Kelley School of Business has received a gift of in-kind software and cash from SAP to integrate a new radio frequency identification technology into the school's enterprise resource planning curriculum. The Kelley School has been a pioneer in ERP curriculum for the past seven years, and the curriculum uses the SAP R/3 ERP system as a tool.

The donation of SAP NetWeaver software supports the school's RFID initiative, while the $25,000 cash gift provides support to incorporate "hands-on" RFID experiences for those studying supply chain, marketing, operations and other functions of a business. The new gift increases the value of SAP's annual in-kind software donation to the Kelley School to over $1 million for the year.

Radio frequency identification technology is expected to replace universal product codes on all manufactured products, fundamentally changing the way business is conducted in the near future. RFIDs are "smart" tags based on the Electronic Product Identification standard. In theory, the technology enables more data to be stored on EPC, thus allowing retailers to track items automatically.

Some major retailers have mandated that consumer products companies begin to replace UPC with RFID tags in 2005. Wal-Mart, for example, the first major private-sector enterprise to require the technology for its top 100 suppliers, has imposed a January 2005 deadline to implement RFID technology on pallets and some large items shipped to Wal-Mart.

Representatives from the German-based software developer presented the gift on Dec. 6 to Daniel C. Smith, interim dean of the IU Kelley School of Business, and to Ash Soni, professor and chair of the Department of Operations and Decision Technologies, and M.A. Venkataramanan, professor of operations and decision technologies.

"This gift will enable our students to be better prepared to help companies integrate RFID and similar new technologies as they enter the marketplace," Smith said. "Experiential learning is a core competency of the Kelley School. We are grateful to SAP for its generous corporate support, which enables our faculty to provide this kind of learning in our curriculum."

The Kelley School of Business is the nation's only business school currently using an RFID prototype in the classroom.

"The Kelley School of Business is one of our flagship campuses, and we are excited to partner with them on this new state-of-the-art initiative," said Amelia Maurizio, director of Education Alliance-Global for SAP.

"SAP is pleased to provide our tools and funding to assist the Kelley School of Business in preparing tomorrow's leaders," said Heather Czech, director of SAP's University Alliances program in the United States.

The Kelley School's RFID prototype involves a miniature train and truck system designed by Vince Mabert, IU professor of operations and decision technologies. This system uses several different types of equipment, including antennas, EPC tags and reading devices, hooked to computers that store the information being transmitted. The prototype that Mabert developed simulates the transportation system from train to truck to warehouse and allows students to learn how various systems offered by vendors capture information from the tags that are loaded on the trucks.

A simple RFID tag has an antenna and a silicon chip that carries an alpha-numeric string of numbers, storing up to 96 bits of data for digits and other relevant information. When hit by a radio wave, the tag transmits the alpha-numeric code embedded in the chip. The ID can be digitally stored, communicated to another party, or used to start a business process automatically.

About SAP:

SAP is the world's leading provider of business software solutions. Today, more than 24,450 customers in over 120 countries run more than 84,000 installations of SAP® software, from distinct solutions addressing the needs of small and mid-sized businesses to enterprise-space suite solutions for global organizations. Powered by the SAP NetWeaver platform to drive innovation and enable business change, mySAP Business Suite solutions are helping enterprises around the world improve customer relationships, enhance partner collaboration, and create efficiencies across their supply chains and business operations. SAP industry solutions support the unique business processes of more than 25 industry segments, including high tech, retail, public sector and financial services. With subsidiaries in more than 50 countries, the company is listed on several exchanges, including the Frankfurt stock exchange and New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "SAP."

About the Kelley School of Business:

The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University has been a leader in American business education for nearly 85 years. With an enrollment of close to 5,000 students, it is among the premier business schools in the country and is consistently ranked in the top tier by U.S. News & World Report. Its MBA degree program has been a long-time fixture in Business Week's listing of top-20 graduate business programs and currently ranks No. 18. The Princeton Review this year ranked the school No. 1 for "best-quality MBA teaching." Its students are among the favorites of corporate recruiters who are looking for promising managers, marketing talent and finance graduates.