SAP Expands Performance Management Tools Lineup, Mobile Application Capabilities

SAP has unveiled a new release of its enterprise performance management (EPM) software the company said expands performance management capabilities beyond a company's finance department to other operations including sales and human resource management.

The company, which is holding its annual Sapphire Now conference in Orlando this week, also debuted a new release of the Sybase Unwired Platform for developing mobile and Web applications and disclosed plans to port SAP's flagship ERP application suite to the Sybase database.

EPM "is one of the cornerstones of our business intelligence strategy," said James Fisher, marketing vice president, EPM and finance solutions, in an interview. "It's something we see becoming more pervasive across more lines of business in the enterprise such as procurement, sales, human resource and others," he said.

The EPM software is one component of the business intelligence, analytics and enterprise information management software lineup that SAP acquired when it bought BusinessObjects in 2008. In February SAP updated the business intelligence and EIM components of the product line, and in March launched an upgrade of the governance, risk and compliance software.

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The SAP BusinessObjects EPM release 10.0, available Wednesday, includes a new sales and operations planning application that brings data consolidation and data analysis to a company's sales efforts. It also has a new bill of materials costing application that links EPM to production operations. And new scorecards work with the company's ERP, CRM and HR systems.

Also new in EPM 10.0 is a Disclosure Management application for filing financial and non-financial statements and regulatory disclosures. The 10.0 release takes advantage of SAP's In-Memory computing technology, sports a new Web 2.0 user interface across all its applications, and works with a broad range of mobile devices.

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As it does with its other business intelligence products SAP will be offering a packaged version of the EPM software for the midmarket through channel partners under the SAP BusinessObjects Edge brand.

Sybase Unwired Platform 2.0 and an accompanying software development kit will help businesses and ISVs develop native applications that run on mobile devices. The platform and toolset offers a hybrid Web container, integration with back-end systems through SAP connectors, and support for iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Android devices.

SAP also unveiled a number of new mobile applications that run on the Unwired Platform for use in vertical industries including manufacturing, consumer products, utilities, high technology, oil and gas, and retail.

On the Sybase database front, SAP said it would ship later this year a version of its SAP Business Suite ERP software for the Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) database. SAP acquired Sybase last July for $5.8 billion, but SAP's applications today only run on database systems from Oracle and IBM. Selected customers are already testing early versions of the Sybase-ported applications.

And SAP said it is expanding its long-time alliance with Microsoft by integrating SAP software with Microsoft's virtualization and cloud computing technologies. A new software development kit for SAP's NetWeaver Gateway will help Microsoft .NET developers build public or private cloud applications that run on Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud platform and connect to on-premise SAP systems. The two companies also pledged to more tightly link SAP software with future versions of Microsoft Visual Studio and the .NET framework.