SAP revamps performance management suite

SAP is preparing to release a major revamp of its software for EPM (enterprise performance management), a subset of BI (business intelligence) that focuses on areas such as budgeting, planning and compliance, the company announced today in conjunction with the annual Sapphire conference in Orlando.

Business Objects EPM 10.0 consists of a wide range of modules, some of which SAP gained through acquisitions. “The suite is now in “ramp-up” release mode with some customers and is expected to be generally available later this year,” said James Fisher, vice president of marketing for EPM and finance solutions.

“EPM 10.0 applies a common look and feel to the various components in the suite, improving usability and making training easier,” said Bryan Katis, VP and GM of EPM solutions.”The business users can own and maintain this with some help from IT,” he said.

SAP is also aligning EPM 10.0 with its HANA in-memory database technology, which moves data to be processed into RAM instead of reading it off disks, providing a performance boost.

Other new features include support for mobile application delivery; analytic “scorecards” for topic areas such as CRM and ERP; and deeper integration with SAP’s NetWeaver middleware and Business Objects BI software, according to the company.

“Under Armour has been using EPM software from SAP and is interested in upgrading to 10.0, although a date hasn’t been set as of yet and  like its peers, the sportswear maker is faced with increased pricing pressure and EPM tools give it a quick way to track and respond to factors such as day-to-day shifts in the price of commodities,” said David Roberts, corporate manager of financial planning and analysis at Under Armour.

“Previously, we would have people running around with a ton of spreadsheets,” Roberts said. Under Armour has also been developing scorecards to track the performance of its vendors, according to Roberts. “We live and die on the performance of our partners and so the usability improvements in 10.0 will be welcome and should help adoption of the tools at Under Armour,” he said.

SAP also announced that it will expand its relationship with  Dell, particularly in the areas of cloud computing and in-memory databases.

Following this, SAP customers will be able to deploy the applications on Dell’s VIS Next Generation Datacenter Platform, which has been bolstered in recent years by acquisitions like storage optimisation vendor Ocarina Networks and server provisioning provider Scalent.

“SAP and Dell will be joined at Sapphire by a representative of the University of Kentucky, which is moving its SAP implementation to a Dell-managed cloud,” said Kaj van de Loo, senior VP of technology strategy at SAP.

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