SAP Offers Enterprise Performance Management Apps as On-Demand Service

The enterprise software giant is offering three new business applications in an on-demand offering as a complement to its EPM 10 suite, designed to run on mobile devices.

SAP is offering three new software applications delivered via the cloud that are designed to run on mobile devices while at the same time providing high-speed performance while crunching big data.

The SAP Enterprise Performance Management OnDemand solution is being introduced Sept. 10 at the America's SAP User Group (ASUG) conference in Orlando, Fla.

The new apps are an adjunct to SAP's Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) software suite, version 10, which was introduced in 2011. The three new OnDemand apps are for keeping track of expenses, profit and loss (P&L) analysis and capital project planning, said David Williams, solution marketing lead for the EPM business at SAP.

"These will complement EPM 10, and the metaphor we use is the sun and planet story where you've got your core applications in EPM 10 and then you can quickly get up and running with one or more of these native cloud-based apps," Williams said.

Initially, the three OnDemand apps will be hosted in SAP's own data centers and will run on its HANA high-performance computing platform featuring in-memory computing and capable of doing analysis of vast stores of data, called big data. In the near future, the apps could be available through Amazon Web Services, but that hasn't been finalized yet, he said.

"When we chose the applications we wanted to focus on, we really wanted to be able to harness the power of HANA. [It's about] handling complex planning models handling big data and being able to do it in real time," said Bryan Katis, group vice president and general manager for EPM Solutions Management at SAP.

The emphasis is on mobile-given that, increasingly, workers are using mobile devices such as tablet computers instead of traditional desktop computers, Katis said. The OnDemand offerings will run on Apple iOS, Google Android and Microsoft Windows Phone 8 mobile operating systems.

The apps also are based on Microsoft Office, so when the apps involve creating a spreadsheet for an analysis or planning project, they are based on the widely used Excel program.

And because the OnDemand apps are hosted on HANA, end users will get the fast results they need when out in the field with their wireless tablets.

"People have more patience with slower performance on a desktop but on a mobile device, if that result is not coming back in three seconds, they're going to go off and play Angry Birds or check their email," Katis said.

SAP is going to add other applications going forward, said Williams, perhaps performing such tasks as calculating depreciation, doing revenue planning or headcount planning.

SAP received a "Hot Vendor" Ranking from Ventana Research in a report released June 21. SAP bested competitors such as IBM, SAS and Oracle in Ventana's Financial Performance Management Value Index. The index rates enterprise software vendors based on usability, manageability, reliability, capability and adaptability of their products, as well as total cost of ownership and return on investment.