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The SAP Ecosystem - Creating a New World Where CPM can Thrive

Mar. 6 2014 by Bani Brandolini, VP Strategic Partners - CCH Tagetik

Business Intelligence & Analytics

Over the years SAP has made a significant shift from solely an applications company to an applications/technology company. It’s combination of ERP, Portal, and middleware innovations, like Netweaver and HANA, makes the SAP ecosystem a place where independent Corporate Performance Management (CPM) solutions can not only survive, but thrive.

CPM providers have always had to work with SAP ERP implementations, given its dominant place in the market. Traditionally integration to SAP ERP has been challenging resulting in specific tools and even specific service providers for integrating with an SAP environment. As independent CPM vendors we all have had to invest in integration with SAP and that integration has delivered great value to SAP ERP customers. Direct access to source ERP data, integration with the Portal and SSO allows for a seamless fit within the SAP platform. And now with SAP Hana, their in-memory database, CPM solutions can provide new areas of planning and real-time analytics that were limited in the past.

CPM is adding significant value to SAP ERP customers

Independent CPM solutions don’t just survive in this new world, they actually bring great benefit. These focused CPM providers bring and breadth, depth and specific industry (ie. Financial Services, Manufacturing etc.) to the table that enable companies to go beyond improving operational efficiencies to significantly shortening their reporting cycles, adding/improving scenario planning and adopting advanced analytics.It gives SAP customers more ways to get more value from their ERP and CPM investments and that benefits everyone.

They also can act as a technology ‘normalizer’. The reality is that many companies that have SAP are also using technologies from other companies, like Microsoft’s Sharepoint, Microsoft BI or other BI tools. Having a CPM solution that integrates across the technology infrastructure of the organization reduces data redundancies and streamlines the processes of the Office of Finance. This allows Finance to focus on their processes rather than the integration of systems with a holistic view into performance across the organization.

We commend SAP for looking out for their customers

SAP’s move to a “co-opetitive” mode and openness to non-SAP developed applications as part of the SAP ecosystem is, in the end, much better for SAP’s customers. They now have the choice to pick an application best suited for their needs. In some cases that will be an application from SAP and in other cases it won’t. In either situation the key driver is meeting the business requirements first and then ensuring the selected solution fits within the SAP ecosystem of the customer. This is good for SAP and for their customers and will be a key factor in the success of SAPs migration from an application company to a state-of-the-art technology platform provider.

What do you think? Has this more open approach from SAP been beneficial to you?

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