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EPM: the story

All about the next release of EPM - what's the story?

With so much happening in the SAP world these days, and so little information necessarily forthcoming, what really is the scoop on EPM?  Here's a little bit of an insider view into that world....
The Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) suite of products has gathered some momentum over the past number of months and is picking up speed as we move towards the launch of the next release.  What's it all about, though?

A little background
The EPM suite has generally included two focus areas.  The first is Financial Performance Management (FPM), which includes the following core products:  SAP BusinessObjects Profitability and Cost Management (PCM), which was originally acquired by BusinessObjects from ALG Software; SAP BusinessObjects Strategy Management (SSM), which was acquired from Pilot Software by SAP; SAP BusinessObjects Financial Consolidation (FC), formerly Cartesis and acquired by BusinessObjects; the corresponding SAP BusinessObjects Intercompany (IC) too; and SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation (BPC), formerly OutlookSoft, acquired by SAP.  BPC, for those who aren't familiar, is offered on two platforms:  the original MS SQL Server platform leveraging MS Analysis Services and also on the SAP NetWeaver platform, which leverages the BW data warehouse layer.  Additionally, there is an ETL layer tool (for extraction, transformation and loading) named Financial Information Management (FIM).  FIM leverages the BusinessObjects EIM (Enterprise Information Management) tools, specifically Data Services.  FIM provides a finance-friendly layer for data movement and manipulation among EPM tools and into EPM from SAP and non-SAP source systems.
The second area of focus for EPM is Operations Performance Management (OPM), which includes Spend Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), and Sales Planning.  The OPM suite of products is not governed by the EPM 10.0 initiative you may have been hearing about; the direction of OPM products is tracking separately from the FPM products.

So what is the current state of the EPM-FPM products? 
Currently, almost all EPM-FPM products (PCM, FC, IC, SSM and FIM) are released as generally available at version 7.5, with the exception of BPC for Microsoft and BPC for NetWeaver.  Each of these BPC version s (BPC MS 7.5 and BPC NW 7.5) is currently in ramp-up until likely the end of June, 2010.  Exiting ramp-up does not occur on a specific date; it is dependent on the conditions and performance indicators of the Ramp-Up program being successfully met.   Watch for announcements in early July 2010 on General Availability.

And the future for EPM-FPM? 
The next release of all EPM-FPM products will be numbered as version 10.0.  It's a jump from 7.5 to 10.0 but the decision was made to level-set at version 10.0 with an intention of seeing some common user experiences across all the products.  Currently, we are working on improving the web interface for all of the products and "common-izing" the end user experience.  The exact details of this initiative are, of course, SAP-confidential at this point but Development has been actively working in this area.  Additionally, in this next release you may see deeper integration across EPM-FPM products and also additional investment into integration with GRC products (currently, EPM 7.5 integrates to GRC's Process Controls).  There may also be a continued focus on Financial Information Management (FIM) linkage into each of the FPM products to strengthen the existing data integration opportunities provided through using FIM.  Of course, each FPM product will also likely see additions and enhancement to specific functionality as well.
The 10.0 releases are expected to be released into the Ramp-Up Program in the 2010/2011 timeframe.  If you're interested in participating in Ramp-Up for any of these products, please advise your SAP account team to ensure you're nominated for the program.

What about the future beyond EPM 10.0?
As you may expect, the accuracy of our crystal ball is somewhat in question, but I do anticipate future investments in the area of In-Memory Planning and On-Demand offerings.  I would also expect there to be additional content offered for various industries and lines of business (e.g., office of the CFO, office of the CIO, Chief Sales Office) in future releases. 
Without any doubt, the EPM story strengthens with each release and SAP's investment into this area continues to forge deeper, tighter integration among individual products.  Stay tuned as we move through 2010 and 2011, for announcements of next-generation EPM releases.

By Helen Sunderland; She is a SAP Solution Manager specializing in EPM products. Her previous role in consulting has primarily required Business Process Expert skills and, as such, she is has also been an advisor to the SAP Business Process eXpert Community.


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