It’s time for one of my favorite conferences of the year, the SAP BusinessObjects User Conference in Orlando, Florida.
I’ve been attending BusinessObjects user conferences ever since they have existed, and it’s a wonderful opportunity for me to catch up with old friends and meet new customers that are using analytics to make a difference in the business.
The day kicked off with Bridgette Chambers, CEO of Americas’ SAP User Group (ASUG), who talked about the ongoing importance of the BusinessObjects community and encouraged people to continue reaching out to work with ASUG.
In the main keynote, Sanjay Poonen, President of Global Solutions at SAP, kicked off with the importance of technology and innovation in today’s business.
“One of the problems of companies today is that 70-80% of their investment is in keeping the lights on, and the remainder is in innovation — we would like to flip those percentages.”
Sanjay talked about the coming changes to the global environment, including changes to the workforce, attitudes to risk, increasing data volume/velocity/variety, the increasingly connected world, and the rising importance of mobile devices (22% of people would give up brushing their teeth for a week in order to keep their mobile phone… and 33% would give up sex!)
Sanjay emphasized the importance of the user conference for SAP: “You are a proxy for the forty or fifty thousand analytics customers — we want your feedback.”
He compared the “traditional stack” of different solutions from different vendors with SAP’s real-time analytics in a simplified, cheaper stack that makes more efficient use of data. For example, companies can do predictive analytics directly within the HANA in-memory database, rather than extracting it to a separate tool.
He outlined the 8 key innovations that would be covered at the conference:
To talk about the impact of data on the business, he invited customer Gabriel Orthous, Senior Business Intelligence Manager of McKesson, the largest US health care IT company, to share his experiences.
Gabriel is one of the authors of the book SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence: The Comprehensive Guide.
Gabriel outlined the advantages of data to the business:
- “BI really brings the users into a community, and allows people to collaborate on the numbers”
- “BusinessObjects allows us to provide a platform to enable people to make informed decisions”
- “You hear about the need for actionable information — the action can be the ability to ask new questions”
- “We have to be able to react fast to changing conditions”
- “You can’t spell mobile without BI!”
Sanjay gave another example of business impact, with SAP’s relationship with the NBA, which will be using SAP HANA to power a fan-focused analytics site.
Sanjay’s demo used the latest version of SAP BusinessObjects Explorer on the iPad, which includes “Exploration Views”, on the NBA data.
Announcing EPM OnDemand
Sanjay then announced the big news of the day – a new cloud-based set of solutions called EPM OnDemand
“We were the first vendor to put business intelligence in the cloud, and we’re now excited to announce EPM On Demand”
The first version of SAP EPM OnDemand delivers:
- Expense insight: Department managers can understand the details of anything charged to their cost centers, and can dispute and resolve miscoded, incorrect or duplicate expenses.
- Real-time profit and loss (P&L) analysis: P&L reporting can be delivered at any level of detail by allocating costs based on consumption of resources.
- Capital project planning: Both non-financial decision-makers and financial experts can establish the complete picture of the financial consequences of capital investment projects, and optimize the use of capital.
SAP customers interested in the solution can find out more at the SAP EPM OnDemand Webinar on September 19th.
Brian Katis, Group VP & GM of Enterprise Performance Management, came out to do a demonstration of the solutions.
The solutions uses the same mobile wrapper designed for the SAP BusinessObjects Mobile product:
The capital projects application is a seamless continuation of users’ PC-based workflows. The business person can review and approve new projects directly from the mobile device.
Bryan demonstrated Expense Insight, allowing busy executives to review and contest any expenses that hit their budgets, directly from a mobile device. He explained that the user interface was modeled on personal consumer finance applications such as mint.com or americanexpress.com.
The real-time profit and loss analysis application uses the power of HANA in the cloud for the complex calculations, and makes it easy for business people to see which products/channels/organizations are making the biggest impacts to overall profitability.
The application includes the ability to add annotations and comments, and send the result by email, or as part of a collaborative decision on the SAP StreamWork platform.
In the next version of EPM OnDemand, next month, business users will be able to access selected BPC data on a cloud-based HANA installation, and modify/input budget data via the mobile device:
The EPM OnDemand solution leverages the full abilities of the SAP analytic solution stack, with easy, cloud-based, mobile access. Sanjay Poonen:
“This is the type of innovation we want to drive. When you have big data in-memory HANA on the back end, and a sizzling mobile interface, then you have a killer app.”
To find out more, sign up for the SAP EPM OnDemand Webinar on September 19th.