Software // Information Management
Commentary
2/12/2009
09:08 AM
Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Commentary
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How Sweet is SAP Business Suite 7?

Just in time for Valentine's Day and your C-Suite of CEO, CFO, COO and CIO budget review, SAP has announced Business Suite 7, which is the latest version of the company's on-premise enterprise-level application suite... SAP has worked for many years to bring this major version to market, but there are many business technology priorities for 2009 that have to be reconciled with an examination of SAP Business Suite 7 as purchase for this year or next...

Just in time for Valentine's Day and your C-Suite of CEO, CFO, COO and CIO budget review, SAP has announced SAP Business Suite 7, which is the latest version of the company's on-premise enterprise-level application suite. This application suite, which encompasses CRM, ERP, PLM, SCM and Supplier Relationship Management, is now brought out in a uniform product release that include everything from a newer version of their SAP NetWeaver application and integration platform and user interface capabilities in their applications that can support their vertical industries and demands of line of business. Now SAP has worked for many years to bring this major version to market but of course the economic environment and difficult time by companies using SAP has complicated the usual opportunity for organizations to upgrade. There are many business technology priorities for 2009 that have to be reconciled with the examination of SAP Business Suite 7 as a purchase this year and next. At the same time SAP is also trying to advance separately new solutions for priorities in business like enterprise performance management and for finance, risk management, and governance, risk and compliance with BI and information management that are also key priorities for many organizations using SAP today.These large applications suites are getting a push back from executives to not take any major risk, cost or disruption to the business. The challenge for SAP is also addressing the current pressure on CIO for IT spending effectiveness and ensuring the full business value of IT to ensure that every dollar is put to good use. SAP has focused on three themes in SAP Business Suite 7 to help their case. The first is Process Excellence that provides more depth on scenarios where the applications provide value to the business for establishing a more clear business case for investment. The second is Reducing Cost which is more that having a common suite of applications with similar user interfaces and skills needed to install and deploy can help organization reduce business and IT costs. The third is Capturing Business Opportunities to provide the information and analysis capabilities to take action on a range of business potential that can be done through using market data which is critical to combine with SAP data together for better decision making. SAP on their part has improved the ability for organizations to perform specific functional enhancement packages that can isolate specific upgrades without impacting other versions and instances of SAP. The major three themes and simplifying specific upgrade points is critical for SAP to demonstrate value for the investment and provide clear business capabilities. This is obviously essential to perform in a recession and very competitive environment.

I see all of this as good steps forward but I am not sure SAP has realized the full value and needs of large and medium sized business as well as they could. Having BI as part of the application suite through their Business Objects acquisition can drive the information and intelligence needs required in this day and age. It is not just about capturing business opportunities but using information for business process efficiency and for individuals to take effective action. Of course leveraging existing investments and the data that is created is critical and then providing integrated BI with ERP and CRM. I also would have thought that since SAP has now a full production enterprise-class planning application that finally fulfills on the P in ERP (enterprise resource planning), a further discussion on the important of planning uniformly across the business suite would have been further discussed. Forward looking planning is critical and one of the top business technology priorities for 2009. Each of which brings even further value to the SAP Business Suite that was not possible before and could be made possible now, and I know from our research across thousands of organizations is more important than just doing an upgrade without it.

SAP and senior executive Jim Hagemann Snabe summarized the announcement and said "SAP Business Suite 7 is a library of business processes, with consistent and modern IT architecture, delivered in modular steps, at a significant reduced cost." Let's hope all of that is realized by mainstream organizations as the level of skepticism on applications suites from SAP and Oracle with ERP, CRM and other capabilities has never been higher. The risk to an organization to move to a major release and commit the budget and resources now is a CEO level decision where the CFO, CIO and operational executive have to agree that it is a good step for the business and not just IT. Of course in the ante to continue to compete with Infor and Oracle for supremacy in the business application suite market will continue and this will be one more volley that will I am sure introduce new comments from the other gorillas in the market. The sweetness of this SAP Business Suite Version 7 will be for you to determine and the industry to assess over the coming years.

Let me know your thoughts.

Regards, Mark Smith - CEO & EVP Research, Ventana ResearchJust in time for Valentine's Day and your C-Suite of CEO, CFO, COO and CIO budget review, SAP has announced Business Suite 7, which is the latest version of the company's on-premise enterprise-level application suite... SAP has worked for many years to bring this major version to market, but there are many business technology priorities for 2009 that have to be reconciled with an examination of SAP Business Suite 7 as purchase for this year or next...

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