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In the just concluded SAPPHIRE event in Vienna, we asked a jam packed audience joining us in the Enterprise Performance Management(EPM) session if they understand ‘what is EPM’ and only six of them responded positively. Therefore we plan to introduce and educate you, through this and a series of blogs, on this subject, and also invite readers to ask questions/post comments about EPM, SAP offerings in EPM and other connected topics.

What are EPM solutions?

These are a set of solutions targeted at decision makers in an organization who can leverage these solutions for effective budgeting, reporting, and decision support. EPM solutions consist of budgeting and planning, financial consolidation and reporting, profitability management, and strategy management. The solutions offer an integrated set of functions that help corporations set goals and strategies, create detailed plans, monitor consolidated actuals against plans, analyse profitability based on products, customers, channels or other segments,perform re-forecast and make accurate decisions.

Who uses EPM solutions?

The solutions are more focussed towards the CFO and the finance department of any organization, who coordinate the budgeting and consolidation activity. However the solutions are rolled out to other C-Users /managers of other functions as well, in order for the decision makers to provide information into budgets as well as seek information from the actuals and reports.

What’s the technology?

EPM solutions run on OLAP technologies and could be treated as an extension to business intelligence..

What’s SAP doing in the EPM solution space?

SAP is coming out with niche solutions.
The following are some of the recent announcements of SAP’s offerings:

Budgeting, planning, and financial consolidation solutions through SAP acquisition of Outlooksoft (May 8,2007)

Integrated solutions for CFO (April 23,2007)

Profitability management solutions (April 23,2007)

Strategy management solutions (Feb 20,2007)

So as you see, SAP is very serious about the EPM space and are bringing out solutions that complement to their already available offerings such as ERP Financials and Goverance Risk and Compliance solutions.

Watch out for more blogs on EPM solutions
1. How is EPM solutions better than using spreadsheets
2. Why solutions that offer in built integration with ERP and GRC better
3. Empowering the business user to administer the solutions
and more……………..

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18 Comments

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  1. Muriel RE Team
    Hi

    what is the role of OutlookSoft? The acquisition of related company is finalized to switch currently SEM-CPM functionalities, or this application will be integrated on SEM-CPM solution? If last one, it will works inside the GUI as a part of BI platform or it will be an external application as Formatted Reporting (Cristal Report)?

    Thanks a lot for your clarification.

    Regards
    Simone Nardocci

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  2. Paul Hardy
    My company already uses Outlooksoft for global consolidation, as some of our business units are on Oracle and some are on SAP.
    We (in Australia) are on SAP so I would hope that the currently fairly laborious processs we have of getting data from BW to Outlooksoft will get easier in the future. Or am I dreaming?
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    1. Muthu Ranganathan Post author
      Absolutely, the immediate priority is to have SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (a.k.a Outlooksoft) to work with SAP BI – and integrate seemlessly. Dreams come true
      (0) 
  3. Karthik Sundaram
    Hi,

    While its interesting to note SAP`s focussed stand on enriching the CPM, Planning, Consolidation and analytics for CFOs using outlooksoft, acorn, pilot software technologies, just wondering what would that mean for SAP`s SEM which provides all of these functionalities? Will the new technologies be bundled into SEM or will they replace SEM?

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    1. Muthu Ranganathan Post author
      We will continue to support the SEM BCS product.Enhancement Pack II for ERP 2005 contains a number of enhancements for SEM-BCS. SEM-BCS
      will continue to be enhanced through future Enhancement Packs for SAP ERP 6.0. In the future we would merge the functionality available through SEM BCS and SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (a.k.a Outlooksoft)
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        1. Muthu Ranganathan Post author
          As of SAP NetWeaver 7.0, BI Integrated Planning (BI-IP) replaced BPS.SAP will continue to support BPS according to the existing support arrangements.

          Functionality of SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (aka outlooksoft) will be merged with BI Integrated Planning, which is part of the SAP BI
          Hope this helps

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          1. Karthik Sundaram
            Thanks for your response and that was quite a good clarification on the BCS, BPS, BI-IP part.
            Will the CPM componenent (balanced scorecard, management cockpit, value driver tree, risk management etc) in SEM  continue to be supported or is it being replaced by newly acquired technologies ?

            Regards
            Karthik

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            1. Muthu Ranganathan Post author
              SAP Strategy Management (aka Pilot) would be the long term strategy for Scorecarding and strategy management capabilities – and this will be integrated to GRC and other CPM products. SEM solutions in these area would be continued to be supported as per existing contract arrangement but no further development is planned in scorecarding area
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  4. Zlatko Radisic
    Hi,

    what is SAP’s recommendation to existing customers of SAP-SEM and SAP-BW who currently have a lot of SAP SEM Balanced scorecards and
    SAP SEM-BPS / BW-BPS planning applications?

    1. Do we stop all new development in these products and start utilizing the new CPM product offerings right away?

    2. Do we continue new development in the old products and convert in the future (when the new CPM suite has stabilized and SAP has stopped further acquisitions)?

    3. Do we stop all new development in these products and use alternative SAP products like BI integreted planning, Visual composer etc. which are more mature than the new CPM products and are not scheduled for obsolesence like SEM and BPS? Then in the future we migrate to the new CPM suite when it is stabilized?

    Your advice on this matter is greatly appreciated as we have invested approx. 5 years of time and effort in SAP SEM BSC, BPS development related to strategy management, performance measurement, planning, budgeting etc.

    Thanks.

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    1. Muthu Ranganathan Post author
      As indicated earlier to another response in the blog, SAP would continue to support BPS,as per the existing maintenance arrangements. As of SAP NetWeaver 7.0, BI Integrated Planning (BI-IP) replaced BPS, so BPS is no longer being developed any further.Development plans for BI Integrated Planning will be unchanged by the OutlookSoft acquisition as BI-IP will continue to be SAP’s long-term planning infrastructure.SAP Strategy Management is SAP’s strategic nextgeneration
      product in that category(scorcarding/strategy). However SAP would continue to support BSC as per the existing maintenance arrangements.

      Some additional elements to each of the question:

      1. Do we stop all new development in these products and start utilizing the new CPM product offerings right away?

      If you already have implemented element of SEM, the maintenance allows you based on a SEM 6.0 (mySAP ERP 2005) to work on maintained product until 2013. Applications of the CPM suite are of course the recommended path for new customer, however, as each customer situation is different, I would recommend to use your local SAP contact to discuss these issues.

      2. Do we continue new development in the old products and convert in the future (when the new CPM suite has stabilized and SAP has stopped further acquisitions)?

      Each products of the CPM suite are now available in a stabilized and mature version, however the integration and Netweaver as a unified platform is not available. So it is more about integration than about stabilization. For more insight on the SAP roadmap again get in touch with your SAP contact.

      3. Do we stop all new development in these products and use alternative SAP products like BI integreted planning, Visual composer etc. which are more mature than the new CPM products and are not scheduled for obsolesence like SEM and BPS? Then in the future we migrate to the new CPM suite when it is stabilized?

      BI integrated Planning and Visual Composer are part of the technical infrastructure in Netweaver, whereas CPM elements are Application designed for performance management and with business user centric concepts. Again these products are fully matured and stabilized and the roadmap of the CPM group is to unify the technology platform and get the convergence of all Planning and Consolidation tools.
      Thanks

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  5. Anand Murthy
    In the current SAP-SEM context, the central catalog of KPIs created using the Measure Builder (SEM-CPM-MB) can thereafter be accessed in Planning, Scorecards (CPM-BSC) Risk Management (CPM-RMS) Value Driver Trees (CPM-VDT) and Cockpits(CPM-MC)

    Given the strategic acquisition of OutlookSoft, PilotSoft & partnership with Acorn; and subsequent replacement/ repackaging in BPC, CPM, Profitability Mgmt etc., what is the change to the role of the Measure Builder and its relationship with other components of CPM by SAP.

    Tx & rgds
    /AM

    PS: I may not have used the exact terms correctly, but if you have a question or clarification on what I’m trying to enquire about, pls. do write & I shall clarify further. Thank you!

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