SAP today unveiled three new cloud-based enterprise performance management applications that run on the HANA in-memory database platform.
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The three new SAP Enterprise Performance Management OnDemand (SAP EPM OnDemand) applications are now generally available and SAP plans to release more SAP EPM OnDemand apps over the next several months. Company officials said the new line of SAP EPM OnDemand apps are being designed with mobile users in mind and are meant to complement SAP's main EPM product line.
EPM software includes any business intelligence applications that focus chiefly on forecasting, planning and other financial matters.
SAP is introducing the product line as a way to extend the functionality of EPM applications like SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation and others to mobile users, according to Joshua Greenbaum, principal analyst with Enterprise Applications Consulting in Berkeley, Calif. He added that the mobile versions of the EPM apps are designed to have a "smaller footprint" and be more agile and focused than their on-premises counterparts.
The three new SAP EPM OnDemand applications options include:
- Expense insight: Allows department managers to view the details of anything charged to their cost centers. It also helps managers resolve problems associated with miscoded, incorrect or duplicate expense reports.
- Real-time profit and loss analysis: Provides P&L reporting capabilities at various levels of detail.
- Capital project planning: Enables finance analysts and others to establish a more complete picture of the financial consequences of capital investment projects.
SAP paying close attention to EPM
The new SAP EPM OnDemand applications mark the latest in a series of EPM product announcements that SAP has made over the last 18 months. During that time, SAP announced the availability of SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) 10 and an updated version of SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation, which runs on the HANA in-memory platform.
SAP contends that the new EPM apps are designed specifically for mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets and, specifically, the Apple iPad "right out of the box," company officials said
SAP aims for a larger EPM audience
By extending its EPM to work on popular mobile devices, SAP may end up introducing EPM capabilities to workers that might not ordinarily use them, according to Greenbaum.
"These apps extend the functionality and the whole usability of performance management in general to a broader audience, and a much more mobile audience," Greenbaum said. "Giving these mid-level managers that kind of access, on a real-time basis, without doing complicated implementations [gives] them the ability to be better managers, to be more in tuned to the financial side of their line of business."
SAP is also offering a Microsoft "add-on" for business analysts and other expert users who need to put the results of their work into an Excel spreadsheet.
"We're [helping business users]," said David Williams, a marketing manager for SAP's EPM product lines, "but we're also filling in the needs of finance [and] business analysts, who need more sophisticated types of tools for analytics."