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SAP has taken the cloak off its latest interpretation of enterprise performance management applications with its introduction of SAP EPM OnDemand. In the initial release SAP EPM OnDemand will include process-driven mobile apps supported by native operating environments and the SAP HANA application cloud.
Going far beyond early expense report apps like Expense OnDemand, EPM OnDemand provides a more comprehensive view of mobile application use and data consumption in line with recent trends in management computing.
"We don't see executives carrying laptops, but rather mobile tablets. This is the platform for them so they can consume data in a way optimal for these devices," said Dave Williams, head of EPM software marketing for SAP.
Users of the on-premises version of SAP EPM10 can also take advantage of these process-driven apps by deploying the recently introduced EPM Unwired interface, a mobile client that companies can use to access both on-premise and on-demand enterprise performance management (EPM) apps. The interface is built on the Sybase Unwired Platform (SUP) architecture.
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The easiest on-ramp for new SAP customers are these front-end apps that can be downloaded at a number of marketplaces and are supported by the SAP HANA application cloud. This Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud approach allows for no investment in hardware directly related to running the environment except for the personal devices that consume the data.
Initially, EPM OnDemand includes three apps: ones for realtime profit and loss analysis, capital project planning, and expense insight. These apps were chosen for the initial release based on several studies showing that financial professionals spend a majority of their time engaged in these processes and that enterprises are most likely to focus on mobilizing these tasks first in the next 12 to 18 months. They join an already strong lineup of SAP EPM apps, including BusinessObjects Strategy Management, created specifically for the Apple iPad.
For users of Microsoft Windows 8 tablets, the user experience will be native because Windows 8 supports Excel, as do many of the core on-premisess EPM10 apps. For iPad users, SAP has developed a grid environment that will render a spreadsheet environment effectively and seamlessly in Apple's iOS operating system.
While the long-term vision for SAP analytics calls for HANA, Gartner and other research organizations agree that, for the time being, hybrid environments that blend cloud and on-premises solutions will be the dominant type of landscape. To accommodate this market, SAP has introduced EPM Unwired, which is based on the SUP.
EPM Unwired helps organizations mobilize their on-premises EPM10. Depending on the data architecture, customers can either leverage Mobile BusinessObjects to create an environment where specific mobile application data can be consumed or run the HANA database and make it consumable to the EPM OnDemand suite of apps.
William Newman is managing principal at Newport Consulting Group, an independent management and technology consulting firm based in Clarkston, Mich. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @william_newman.