SAP recently has announced that their SAP NetWeaver Identity Management 7.1 now includes an SAML 2.0 Identity Provider - it requires the Service Pack (or Support Pack) Stack 5 (by the way: who at SAP is responsible for product names??? SAP BusinessObjects GRC Access Control; SAP NetWeaver Identity Management 7.1 SP Stack 5;...).

SAP is commited to SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) for a while now - and SAML 2.0 support is found at many places in the SAP portfolio. SAP systems can act as service providers in federation scenarios, with SAML 2.0 enabling the Single Sign-On and sharing of identity-related information. Using the identity provider within SAP NW IDM 7.1 SP 5 (to keep the name short and make it even more cryptic) allows to use a centralized view on identities within federation. The product can provide the unified view on identities which is a foundation for federation. Without identity information quality, there is no successful federation: Garbage in, garbage out.

The enhancement of the product shows where SAP is heading: It is a central element within the SAP NW infrastructure which provides all the identity services required in that infrastructure. There is tight integration with SAP products, but as well support for standards to integrate external applications - like with SAML 2.0 and the inherent support for Non-SAP service providers as well.

The other important enhancement in SP 5 are the Identity Reporting Capabilities based on SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse. That enhances the reporting capabilities of SAP NW IDM 7.1 - but it requires to have the Business Warehouse product in place. Anyhow, the enhancements clearly demonstrate the strategy of SAP for NetWeaver Identity Management: A central piece in the SAP infrastructure, well integrated, and with standards support. The enhancements demonstrate another point: SAP is executing on its strategy consequently. Maybe a little too quiet, but they are moving forward.