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Author's profile photo Helen Sunderland

All about the future of EPM – what’s the story?

All about the next release of EPM – what’s the story?

 

With so much happening in the SAP world these days, and so little information necessarily forthcoming, what really is the scoop on EPM?  Here’s a little bit of an insider view into that world….

The Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) suite of products has gathered some momentum over the past number of months and is picking up speed as we move towards the launch of the next release.  What’s it all about, though?

 

A little background

The EPM suite has generally included two focus areas.  The first is Financial Performance Management (FPM), which includes the following core products:  SAP BusinessObjects Profitability and Cost Management (PCM), which was originally acquired by BusinessObjects from ALG Software; SAP BusinessObjects Strategy Management (SSM), which was acquired from Pilot Software by SAP; SAP BusinessObjects Financial Consolidation (FC), formerly Cartesis and acquired by BusinessObjects; the corresponding SAP BusinessObjects Intercompany (IC) too; and SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation (BPC), formerly OutlookSoft, acquired by SAP.  BPC, for those who aren’t familiar, is offered on two platforms:  the original MS SQL Server platform leveraging MS Analysis Services and also on the SAP NetWeaver platform, which leverages the BW data warehouse layer.  Additionally, there is an ETL layer tool (for extraction, transformation and loading) named Financial Information Management (FIM).  FIM leverages the BusinessObjects EIM (Enterprise Information Management) tools, specifically Data Services.  FIM provides a finance-friendly layer for data movement and manipulation among EPM tools and into EPM from SAP and non-SAP source systems.

The second area of focus for EPM is Operations Performance Management (OPM), which includes Spend Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), and Sales Planning.  The OPM suite of products is not governed by the EPM 10.0 initiative you may have been hearing about; the direction of OPM products is tracking separately from the FPM products.

 

So what is the current state of the EPM-FPM products? 

Currently, almost all EPM-FPM products (PCM, FC, IC, SSM and FIM) are released as generally available at version 7.5, with the exception of BPC for Microsoft and BPC for NetWeaver.  Each of these BPC version s (BPC MS 7.5 and BPC NW 7.5) is currently in ramp-up until likely the end of June, 2010.  Exiting ramp-up does not occur on a specific date; it is dependent on the conditions and performance indicators of the Ramp-Up program being successfully met.   Watch for announcements in early July 2010 on General Availability.

 

And the future for EPM-FPM? 

The next release of all EPM-FPM products will be numbered as version 10.0.  It’s a jump from 7.5 to 10.0 but the decision was made to level-set at version 10.0 with an intention of seeing some common user experiences across all the products.  Currently, we are working on improving the web interface for all of the products and “common-izing” the end user experience.  The exact details of this initiative are, of course, SAP-confidential at this point but Development has been actively working in this area.  Additionally, in this next release you may see deeper integration across EPM-FPM products and also additional investment into integration with GRC products (currently, EPM 7.5 integrates to GRC’s Process Controls).  There may also be a continued focus on Financial Information Management (FIM) linkage into each of the FPM products to strengthen the existing data integration opportunities provided through using FIM.  Of course, each FPM product will also likely see additions and enhancement to specific functionality as well.

The 10.0 releases are expected to be released into the Ramp-Up Program in the 2010/2011 timeframe.  If you’re interested in participating in Ramp-Up for any of these products, please advise your SAP account team to ensure you’re nominated for the program.

 

What about the future beyond EPM 10.0?

As you may expect, the accuracy of our crystal ball is somewhat in question, but I do anticipate future investments in the area of In-Memory Planning and On-Demand offerings.  I would also expect there to be additional content offered for various industries and lines of business (e.g., office of the CFO, office of the CIO, Chief Sales Office) in future releases. 

Without any doubt, the EPM story strengthens with each release and SAP’s investment into this area continues to forge deeper, tighter integration among individual products.  Stay tuned as we move through 2010 and 2011, for announcements of next-generation EPM releases.

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      8 Comments
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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      I was hoping for some form of substance from this article, some insite into the SAP EPM product line as the title promised. The only benefit I see from this article is a person  will now know the names of the SAP products that make up the SAP EPM product line and where those products came from.
      Author's profile photo Helen Sunderland
      Helen Sunderland
      Blog Post Author
      Thanks for your comment, David.  The intent of the article was to talk about the general direction of EPM.  SAP follows very restrictive revenue recognition guidelines and, as such, cannot discuss future features and functions which are planned in next-generation releases and which are not yet generally available!  Unfortunately, that makes for a brief article, however the article should clear up any mysteries regarding the numbering of the next release (some folks may still remember the days of talking about 8.0 -- those days no longer exist!) plus SAP's intent to invest heavily in on-demand applications as well as in-memory planning.

      best regards,
      Helen

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Hi Helen,

      Thanks for the information on EPM versioning.

      One question I have is on usage of FIM for the purpose of loading data into BPC, PCM, and BFC applications.

      Since FIM works on top of DataServices, is it absolutely required for EPM products to use FIM? Can't they just use DataServices to load data directly using respective data load mechanisms of these applications? Where is the value add in using FIM other than giving the end users an abstraction layer on DataServices?

      Thanks and regards,

      Shehryar

      Author's profile photo Helen Sunderland
      Helen Sunderland
      Blog Post Author
      Hi Shehryar --

      Thanks for your question. 

      The value of FIM lies in the fact that it is built for the business user and not the traditional IT person who
      works in an ETL environment.  So, therefore, there is productized connectivity, mappings, etc between the EPM applications that the business user doesn't need to build. Yes, you could just use Data Services but FIM provides this
      additional content and simplicity.

      In summary:  the additional value of FIM lies in its content for business users.

      Hope this helps.

      best regards,
      Helen

      Author's profile photo Helen Sunderland
      Helen Sunderland
      Blog Post Author
      Some other points I'd like to add about FIM:  It provides a harmonized data integration experience for end users irrespective of the EPM application being used, which is a big advantage -- one interface to learn.

      Also, some of the specific features over Data Services designer include a guided workflow in building up an ETL process via the job creation wizard (end users enter simple parameters which FIM uses to generate the complex ETl process); additional capabilities for auditing and compliance purposes such as the "drill to origin/drill to source" (back to ECC in the latest version) as well as the mapping table/job run history logs.  Finally, it is also integrated within the EPM applications - dynamic browsing of meta/masterdata is available as well as the ability to leverage user credentials /authentiction in the EPM apps so users can be confident that they can process data that they are authorized to load.

      Again, I hope that was helpful.

      Best,
      Helen

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Hi,

      Thanks for the response. Much appreciated.

      I can understand that there is some value in giving the end users an abstraction layer for self-service. However, the problem in our case is that we have a linux based DataServices environment. Despite the fact that FIM is a Java application, SAP has decided not to support it on platforms other than Windows. This puts us in a difficult situation whereby we need to have a sound business case for FIM to justify investment in a separate DataServices instance for EPM Apps only.

      Thanks again for your time.

      Regards,

      Shehryar

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Hi Helen,

      how is EPM going to work with cundus' XBRL reporting and ECC enhancement packs' functionality of financial consolidation? will those offerings be subsumed into EPM or continue being independent?

      @greg_not_so

      Author's profile photo Birgit Starmanns
      Birgit Starmanns
      Hi Greg,

      As you know, one of the assets that we acquired from cundus is the Financial Statement Factory, which we are bringing to market under the name SAP BusinessObjects Dislosure Management. It will be part of the EPM portfolio of solutions.

      The disclosure management capabilities will not replace existing consolidation functionality, it is its own application that picks up after consolidation/corporate close processes are complete. Disclosure Management is then used to structure financial statement data, bring together financial and narrative information, manage edits and approvals, and finally publish though electronic filing (e.g. XBRL) and in publication formats (e.g. MS Office, Adobe PDF, etc.).

      I will be writing a blog late in the week to go into more detail.

      Best regards,
      *Birgit