SAP is reducing the price of its NetWeaver platform and making licences available to individual users to attract more developers.

Developers will be able to buy NetWeaver licences at reduced cost from its SAP Developer Network (SDN) website where previously they had to rely on the company they worked for being an existing SAP customer.

The plan is to expand the appeal of the integration platform, which is central to recent versions of the vendor's enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. SAP will also announce new investments in its NetWeaver Fund which provides an incentive to partners to build offerings based on SAP's three-year-old NetWeaver platform.

So far, SAP has dipped into the fund only once, making an unspecified equity investment in intelligent device management software company Questra in August. The maximum limit on the fund's investment per company is set at $5 million. When SAP unveiled the fund, CEO Henning Kagermann said the vendor might look to acquire some of the partners it invests in at a later date.

SAP will also talk up NetWeaver to independent software vendors and systems integrators attending its Enterprise Services Partner Summit on Tuesday. The vendor will soon announce new companies its working with to build up an "eco-system" around NetWeaver. Nearly 2,000 companies are already building software using it.

The company will attempt to dispel the perception that it is hard to partner with, a spokesman said, by unifying its channel programs so small partners will have the same working experience as larger companies.

Original reporting by China Martens, IDG News Service