SAP announced an aggressive mobile analytics strategy nearly a year ago, and at the vendor's TechEd conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday it underscored mobile progress by announcing yet another new app: SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC) on its Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Unwired.
EPM Unwired is the mobile client for SAP's cloud-based EPM OnDemand application, introduced earlier this year, and for EPM 10.0 on-premises software. The mobile app already included Expense Insight expense-management functionality, Capital Project Planning functionality for asset-intensive projects, and Real-Time P&L Analysis to help managers gain a deep understanding of the profitability of products, customers, and business units. These capabilities were all announced in early September.
Adding BPC to EPM Unwired fills in a core capability that managers sorely need, namely, the ability to plan and react when performance doesn't meet expectations.
"We've heard from our customers that it's a high priority for managers and executives to be able to use mobile devices to run the business and understand performance no matter where they might be," said Mimi Spier, SAP's senior director of marketing, mobile analytics, and cross-portfolio strategy, in an interview with InformationWeek. "The Planning and Consolidation app takes advantage of write-back capabilities so executives can take action by adjusting budgets or forecasts in real time if they see that a project or a product isn't performing as expected."
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SAP executives have touted mobile apps as the new de facto interface, and uptake in the business intelligence (BI) segment supports the case for mobile demand. SAP competitors, including MicroStrategy and QlikTech, were early to embrace mobile analytics, and giants like IBM, Oracle, and SAP have since stepped up their games.
The new BPC functionality is heavy on the "P" but light on the "C," as the intensive process of consolidating financials to close the books is more likely to be worked on from a desktop than a mobile device. The app also lets you consume BusinessObjects Web Intelligence reports.
Beyond the EPC Unwired app, SAP has also released SAP BusinessObjects Mobile, a mobile window into BI content, including BusinessObjects Web Intelligence (also known as Webby) and Crystal Reports. A 4.3 upgrade of that app released earlier this month extended data-visualization capabilities and added support for major languages other than English, including French, German, Japanese, simplified Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Polish.
SAP has also released a BusinessObjects Explorer mobile app, which offers extensive data-visualization and data-exploration capabilities on top of SAP Hana and other analytic databases.
EPC Unwired is natively supported on the iPad for now, but plans call for support for Android tablets sometime next year. BusinessObjects Mobile runs on BlackBerry, Apple iOS, and Android devices.