SAP (NYSE: SAP) had a host of product and partnership announcements at its Sapphire Now user conference this week. Topping the list was a new version of its enterprise performance management (EPM) software, along with ERP database and mobility product announcements from its Sybase subsidiary.
In addition to version 10 of its BusinessObjects EPM software, SAP also announced several new mobile applications and the availability of its ERP solution on the Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) database, which SAP said offers "significant efficiency gains and cost reductions" over databases from competitors like Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL).
The new mobile apps built on the Sybase Unwired Platform are aimed at the manufacturing, consumer products, utilities, high tech, oil and gas, and retail industries, and follow previous mobile CRM and Workflow offerings. The new mobile apps span customer service, sales, finance, retail, human resources and other areas.
Making applications work for real-time, mobile workforces was a big theme of SAP's product announcements this week. SAP's HANA in-memory analytics platform figured prominently in a number of announcements, such as the new SAP ERP rapid-deployment solution for operational reporting, and Sybase's mobile platform was also the focus of a number of new and enhanced products.
Cloud computing was also a big theme this week. SAP's Rapid Deployment and BusinessObjects solutions are now available on demand on Amazon Web Services (AWS), and SAP and Microsoft announced improved integration between SAP software and Microsoft's virtualization and cloud computing technologies.
Mobile and in-memory technology are two of the major new features of BusinessObjects EPM release 10, which SAP says "moves EPM best practices beyond the finance department to managers throughout the company."
SAP said the EPM release reflects its business analytics vision, which is "to enable people to make timely decisions that are well-informed and guided by corporate strategy, the current state of the market and the company itself."
Other new features in EPM 10 include:
- Business intelligence workspaces with embedded EPM content for tracking key performance indicators (KPIs).
- Bill of materials (BoM) costing to connect EPM activities down to the production level.
- Business area scorecards for areas such as CRM, ERP and human resources (HR) for better alignment across the organization.
- Automated variance analysis for determining root causes between plan and actuals, and predicting possible future scenarios.
In a comment to Enterprise Apps Today, analyst Ray Wang of Constellation Research Group said of the week's news, "SAP's back focused on helping customers with value management, co-innovation, and innovation."
In a research note today, Stifel Nicolaus analyst Tom Roderick wrote, "We certainly do not deny that the real-time, big data analytics and enterprise mobility themes are secular, long-term trends from [which] SAP can certainly benefit, and perhaps uniquely so given its position as a core platform in many enterprises. Indeed, the commentary and actions of other vendors in our space, such as Salesforce.com, Informatica and QlikTech, also paint a picture of an increasingly connected, mobile enterprise world that takes advantage of real-time data. However, we believe that it will continue to take some time for SAP to continue its evolution from a large, implementation-intensive, on-premise vendor to a lighter-footprint, omnipresent application vendor."
For more on in-memory analytics, see Analytics and In-Memory Databases Are Changing Data Centers