SAP Claims Performance Management Gains - InformationWeek

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3/10/2008
05:59 PM
Doug Henschen
Doug Henschen
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SAP Claims Performance Management Gains

"Over the past several months, more than 100 customers worldwide purchased SAP solutions for enterprise performance management with the intention to replace Hyperion solutions from Oracle." SAP heralded this announcement late last month as a big milestone, but after reviewing the facts, I'm thinking the number sounds low. I'd also observe that it's a bit too early to be talking about "unifying the full range of financial and operational processes in a single stack," as claimed in the press relea

"Over the past several months, more than 100 customers worldwide purchased SAP solutions for enterprise performance management with the intention to replace Hyperion solutions from Oracle." SAP heralded this announcement late last month as a big milestone, but after reviewing the facts, I'm thinking the number sounds low. I'd also observe that it's a bit too early to be talking about "unifying the full range of financial and operational processes in a single stack," as claimed in the press release.

As for the facts, Hyperion, which was acquired by Oracle last year, is the acknowledged market share leader in performance management with more than 12,000 customers. Given Hyperion's long history, plenty of these customers have aging legacy products and are or will soon be facing upgrade decisions. Oracle was quick to point out when it made the deal that many Hyperion customers are also SAP customers (4,000 according to one press release), but perhaps it didn't anticipate that SAP would buy its way into performance management in such as big way last year. Having acquired Pilot, Outlooksoft, Business Objects and, through the latter, Cartesis, how could SAP help but rack up 100 performance management wins against Hyperion? Throw in SAP's preexisting performance management technologies, and you begin to wonder if the win figure shouldn't be higher.In fact it is higher, claims Nenshad Bardoliwalla, vice president, solution management, financial and industry performance management at Business Objects, an SAP Company. "The 100 wins were part of the SAP strategy prior to Business Objects [and Cartesis] becoming part of the SAP portfolio," he points out. "If you add in Business Objects, it would be well over 100 wins," though he added that the time frame described by "past several months" dates all the way back to the Pilot acquisition in February 2007.

SAP is winning deals along three "vectors," says Bardoliwalla. The first vector is core financial planning, consolidation and reporting, where SAP competes head-on with Hyperion and is winning deals with Outlooksoft. The second vector is in "Edge Processes" where Bardoliwalla says SAP is winning deals around profitability management and strategy management with the technologies acquired with Pilot software. The third vector is governance, risk and compliance, where SAP already had a strong portfolio built up around its 2006 acquisition of Versa.

The Business Objects performance management assets, including those of Cartesis, will help build the story on vector one in particular, but you can hardly describe the whole collection as a "single stack," as described in SAP press release. That doesn't matter so much to SAP customers so long as the roadmap is in place, says analyst John Hagerty of AMR Research. "If you think about how most SAP customers view the world, everything is based on a common IT infrastructure, which in SAP parlance is NetWeaver," he explains. "A lot of the products that have been acquired don't sit directly on top of NetWeaver yet because integration needs to be done, but SAP has been very vocal about their direction and about what they'll be integrating to run on top of a NetWeaver platform."

I'm not surprised to see SAP putting a big spotlight placed Outlooksoft, which had more momentum than Cartesis going into last year's acquisitions, not to mention higher penetration in North America. In fact, I'm sure the Outlooksoft suite will appeal to lots of Business Objects customers whether they're running SAP or not.

As far as Oracle is concerned, losing 100 out of 4,000 joint SAP customers and 12,000 customers total could easily be described as expected, if not modest, churn. Things have been rather quiet on the BI and performance management fronts at Oracle of late, but I'm sure I'll soon hear about sales gains among Oracle, Siebel, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards customers, not to mention BEA, the deal still in the pipeline."Over the past several months, more than 100 customers worldwide purchased SAP solutions for enterprise performance management with the intention to replace Hyperion solutions from Oracle." SAP heralded this announcement late last month as a big milestone, but after reviewing the facts, I'm thinking the number sounds low. I'd also observe that it's a bit too early to be talking about "unifying the full range of financial and operational processes in a single stack," as claimed in the press release.

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