IBM and SAP are aiming at making it easier for customers to bring their SAP data into Lotus Notes.

The companies have announced plans for a jointly developed application code-named "Atlantic" that will enable customers to bring SAP data direct within the Lotus Notes 8 desktop. In the past, businesses had to use special tools to do custom integration between the SAP data and Lotus Notes, or they had to use a product called Notes Access for SAP that provided some capabilities, said Sean Poulley, vice president of business development strategy for IBM Lotus. With the new application, the integration of the two products will be complete, Poulley said.

"Customers made it clear that they wanted to see the companies do a joint product for better integration and support," Poulley said. "This is the first joint software product that IBM and SAP have built together."

Atlantic, which has not been given a release name, is expected to be launched sometime in the fourth quarter, Poulley said. Pricing has not been established.

By bringing the two applications together in a more unified way, users will get improved access to critical business information, according to the two companies.

"We're creating a richer collaboration environment," said Michael Rhodin, general manager of IBM Lotus Software. "Businesses are looking to find better ways to collaborate and manage their business processes. This IBM-SAP solution addresses both challenges in one seamless package for millions of users."