Of all the changes in the new SAP BusinessObjects GRC 10 platform, it’s SAP’s decision to build the SAP GRC platform on its Advanced Business Application Programming (ABAP) language instead of Java that most excites people like Gretchen Lindquist.
“It’s such a big win for the security administrator,” said Lindquist, a Houston-based GRC consultant and SAP Mentor who recently worked for Halliburton.
On Wednesday SAP announced that it was rolling out an updated version of its GRC (governance, risk and compliance) platform that includes embedded BusinessObjects analytics capabilities and better integration among the applications in the suite. SAP has also added GRC to the current SAP Ecohub, an online marketplace where customers can research and review partner-created software applications.
But it is SAP’s decision to move back to ABAP after having based previous GRC platforms on Java that Lindquist said is one of the key improvements, given that working in ABAP gives administrators much tighter control over change management. That means that when the administrator creates and sends a development object through the system into the production layer, there’s documentation along the way on what was changed and who changed it, she said.
“I just feel really good about bringing it back into ABAP,” she said. “It gives you really good records.”
Levi’s use of SAP GRC
One of the early ramp-up customers includes Levi Strauss and Co., which has been running GRC 5.3 for the last two years.
In the past, Levi’s had two separate instances of GRC for each of the segregation of duty rule sets, one for Asia and one for the U.S.
SAP BusinessObjects GRC 10 platform will instead allow the company to run two different rule sets in parallel within the same GRC instance, with each being run according to the established workflow, said Eric Peoples, director of global SAP controls, compliance and tools.
“I would say it is definitely a production gain,” he said. “With 10.0, it’s all kind of centralized.”
BusinessObjects in GRC
The addition of BusinessObjects gives users the ability to get real-time reporting and dashboard reports throughout the platform, even employees who aren’t accustomed to using GRC applications, according to SAP.
At the same time, SAP contends the addition of BusinessObjects to the platform also gives the applications a consistent look and feel, especially for business users accustomed to using those dashboards in other applications.
That’s something a lot of people will find comfort in, according to Lindquist.
“Those management types like that kind of stuff,” she said.
Tying it all together
In the past, the SAP GRC platform had a disjointed, incoherent feel, given that many of the applications were built on different technology platforms, without a common interface. What’s more, applications did not share workflows or data, according to Cindy Jutras, an analyst with the Boston-based Aberdeen Group Inc. As a result, the applications felt like very different products.
“An existing customer who may have started with access control, and was looking for a trade compliance or process control or risk management solution, there really wasn’t a significant advantage in sticking with the SAP family of products,” Jutras wrote in her blog.
With GRC 10.0, SAP has melded those applications together into a more coherent platform, she said.
“Master data can be shared across [the] Access Control, Process Control and Risk Management [applications]. For example, the rich organizational structure that was available in Process Control can now be used in Access Control. All use the same workflow structure, supporting integrated monitoring,” Jutras wrote.
Application interfaces now share a more common look and feel, according to SAP. Applications have been integrated in other ways as well.
That includes having one workbox for all GRC initiatives and one homepage for all of the user’s GRC-related items whether it’s for risk management, compliance management, global trade services, or any other area, according to SAP.
SAP executives said they have dozens of other customers besides Levi’s currently using the application in the ramp-up phase. Pricing details were not released.