SAP SEM gives way to OutlookSoft based BPC

There is shuffle in one more area of SAP. The SEM (Strategic Enterprise Management) module build on top of BW is loosing out of favor. For all practical purposes, the future direction in Performance Management and planning seems to be the new avatar of SAP’s acquisition Outlooksoft. Outlooksoft was a medium size player in this area. But SAP has known to have problems with SEM. The product and its platform have been rigid. The models created by planners have been very difficult to be integrated into the SEM module, and have very often required intervention of developers to enhance the code. On top of it, SEM had limited web based tools, and the platform basically posed challenges on the frontend side. Give and take, SAP’s own offering has been a laggard and it was a matter of time before the realization to plug the whole dawned.
Outlooksoft had lowered the cost of entry to integrated business performance management by creating applications based around Microsoft’s SQL Server database and Excel. The latest Outlooksoft 5 release has been redesigned with a service-oriented architecture that makes it easier to deploy the product via the web and with different databases – which closely mirror’s SAP’s product philosophy. This also simplifies integration with SAP’s own NetWeaver Business Intelligence (BI) infrastructure.

Industry analyst Gartner reported that SAP would continue to develop its Strategic Enterprise Management (SEM) and Business Warehouse products and seek to roll out OutlookSoft as a companion application to act as the “face” of the underlying SAP systems.

SAP said it planned to sell the integrated OutlookSoft-SAP products by the end of this year. SAP acquired Russian strategy management specialist Pilot Software, while it also sells the Profit Analyzer program developed by Acorn Systems.
An example scenario for end user interaction is – say a car manufacturer using Outlooksoft for budgeting would be guided through changes in product plans by a set of Excel-driven wizards, email alerts and narrative guides in Word and PowerPoint format. There is some level of integration with the Microsoft Office 2007 suite allowing Word, Excel and PowerPoint users to “consume” business performance information over the web

In SAP’s Business Planning and Consolidation’s ((formerly Outlooksoft)current 5.1 release, there is almost no change from Outlooksoft – its the old product with an SAP logo. Future releases will be based on the NW OLAP engine (ROLAP) engine, leveraging the capabilities included in NW around access performance. Future release will also be available on the Microsoft stack

The next release of BPC will not be integrating to BI-IP. That is, the next release of BPC will read/write to NW BI InfoCubes built specifically to support BPC. Front-end convergence (i.e. being able to use the OSFT front-end on say a BI-IP cube) is planned for the subsequent release.

The OutlookSoft solution does require a specific data model (i.e. certain mandatory dimensions which have certain mandatory properties, different way of handling non-cumulative figures, currency conversions, etc). So, unfortunately, it’s not “plug and play” as far as front-ends and functions, etc go.
You will still create your own Dimensions and assign them to cubes. There will also be additional meta data tables that the OutlookSoft application and client uses, which are also very important. You cannot just pick a cube and make the OutlookSoft solution run on top of it (at least not for the release next year).

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3 Responses to “SAP SEM gives way to OutlookSoft based BPC”

  1. Any news regarding this topic now in 2009? rgrds.

  2. I would like to learn SAP BPC , Outlook soft, are you providing any training on that plz let me know.

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