SAP has introduced RealSpend, a mobile application that provides line managers and others with real-time budget and spending information, by pulling data from their financial reporting systems.
This is the first time SAP's budget-planning software has been offered as part of its HANA Cloud Platform, its platform-as-a-service technology that supports countless third-party applications and enables customers to extend their core applications to the cloud.
It's also one of the first applications to connect to SAP S/4HANA Finance, a hybrid solution that supports on-premise and cloud environments, without replicating data.
For many companies, financial and budgeting tools exist on-premise, in various applications—which is why they're collected into reports only every few weeks.
"There's an old saying that what gets measured, get managed," Peter Graham, director of finance solutions and mobility at SAP, told eWEEK.
"With RealSpend, you can log on and see the budget assigned to you. It's not a secret, and you're not waiting for someone to hand you a report at the end of the month, detailing it for you. It's all right there, so you can adjust and manage your business better."
SAP believes that when real-time accounting details are easily available, checking them can become part of a daily routine and instigate better planning and new approaches or strategies.
With RealSpend, users can also perform analyses of actual and future spending, as well as simulations of the influence of certain decisions on budget factors, such as hiring, sales and equipment investment.
"There's also a featured calling Tagging that lets you go through and see how you're looking at your budget," said Graham. "If I want to look at certain budget areas, or maybe I'm restructuring certain budgets, I can tag them to quickly create groupings."
He added, "We really think this is adding value to the customers and the line managers, but also the CFO. While it may not be used by the CFO or her team, it's certainly going to be used by the management team, and that ultimately benefits the CFO and the company."
SAP RealSpend is now available with a user-based monthly subscription. While ROI is difficult to predict, the company expects that RealSpend will pay for itself in well under a year of use.
And while it's the first cloud app for HANA to extend customers' core applications, "others will be coming soon," said Graham.