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How SAP Compares to Other ERP Software

How SAP Compares to Other ERP Software

When you are considering ERP software to integrate and streamline your business’s finances, HR, and other processes, SAP is an option that you will frequently come across. For well over a decade, SAP has been the ERP system of choice for all types of industries. This trend is expected to continue in the coming years [1].

This raises two important questions. What sets SAP apart from other ERP systems currently available? Why is it one of the most widely used ERP systems in the world [2]? To answer these questions, here’s a brief look at how SAP compares to other ERP software.

1. SAP can fit any size business, from the smallest company to a Fortune 500 company

Unlike some other ERP systems that are geared for use by companies of a specific size, this is not the case with SAP. Instead, they offer a diverse line of ERP platforms that are known for being incredibly consistent. They offer an all-in-one solution with a straightforward implementation process. Additionally, transitions are easy as a company grows and expands.

SAP also offers multiple cloud solutions and it integrates straight out-of-the-box with complementary services, such as Google and PayPal. This is uncommon in the world of ERP systems. All of these are things, as well as the fact that SAP offers plenty of flexibility for growth, are things that small businesses can greatly benefit from. At the same, SAP offers the functions and capabilities needed by the world’s largest companies. In fact, almost 80% of Fortune 500 companies use SAP, including Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Phillip Morris [3].

2. It is also ideal for any business

As mentioned above, SAP works with all types of industries, which isn’t always the case with ERP systems. Businesses that are implementing a new ERP may not know exactly which functions and modules they need. SAP has a wide selection for a custom fit without having to pay for customization. Businesses also benefit from SAP’s integration. When changes are made to one module, other modules are immediately updated.

3. It does not offer unnecessary functionality

All ERP systems require training and time for your staff to learn how to use it. The simpler the system, the shorter the learning curve will be. Some ERP systems, such as Oracle, to offer too many functions for most businesses. Many of them are unnecessary which makes training more difficult and complicated. While SAP offers all the functions a business needs, it keeps them streamlined so the users does not become confused.

4. When compared to other ERP systems, SAP offers the quickest financial payback and shorter implementation time

SAP is the second most expensive ERP system to implement (Oracle is first). However, it does provide the quickest financial payback (around nine months) when compared to other ERP systems [4]. For businesses using SAP, this results in faster financial benefits. At the same time, SAP has established a significantly shorter implementation period than its counterparts, which also facilitates quicker success.

5. SAP usually requires less customization than other ERP systems

When compared to its competition, SAP has a reputation for its impressive out-of-the-box functionality. This results in minimal, if any, need for customization, which can slow down the implementation period. However, it is worth noting that SAP does provide plenty of customizable solutions that will suit all types of business if needed.

Currently, SAP rates very high when compared to other ERP systems. Of course, other vendors, including Oracle and Infor, are continually looking to make upgrades and changes. SAP will have have to work hard to stay ahead of the competition, or they could be surpassed in the future. 

Don’t fret, contact Panorama Consulting Solutions to help with your ERP selection.

Top Tips for SAP S/4HANA ERP Implementation

Top Tips for SAP S/4HANA ERP Implementation

SAP S/4HANA is a competitive Tier 1 fourth generation ERP solution available in multi-lingual configurations. It goes beyond the traditional ERP system, giving you the ability to connect all your processes and providing you with live information and insights. In 2015 SAP promoted S/4HANA has its “biggest launch in 23 years, if not the entire history of the company.”

S/4HANA represents a transformational shift in how data is stored and accessed. Therefore when it was launched there were initial questions about the functionality, availability, pricing and migration. SAP has worked hard to educate users about this powerful new platform. As a result SAP now has 6,000 customers, including companies like Google and Centrica, who have implemented S/4HANA.

What makes S/4HANA unique is how the SAP products work together. The HANA data store runs in-memory or data is stored in columns rather than rows. This means faster access and virtually real-time analytics. S/4Hana is a suite of ERP software that runs on top of the HANA database. The goal is to move away from a system that records data to one that actively supports users decisions in real time based on internal and external sources.

This is an ERP system with the potential to completely transform your company for the future.  SAP S/4HANA may allow you to address your current challenges, while very likely handling your “future state” needs as well. Since this software can be complex below you’ll find some valuable SAP S/4HANA implementation tips to keep in mind.

1. Define, plan and staff your implementation strategy carefully.

Implementation will be determined by your starting point. What type of ERP system do you currently have? A non-SAP legacy ERP or even from a SAP ERP requires an initial data load. If you are currently running SAP Business Suite system then you might be able to migrate your data. A third scenario is combining several regional ERPs into a single global S/4HANA platform.

Another aspect to consider is where S/4HANA will be deployed. It can be on-site, cloud based or a hybrid model. A cloud based deployment is recommended for maximum benefit. If you choose cloud based, you must decide if it will be a public or private cloud.  

Your starting point determines how long implementation will take. Some transitions can take as little as 6 months. Others make take several years. This highlights the value of having an ERP consultant to help guide you from the very beginning.  

2. Plan your migration

SAP S/4HANA data migration can be straightforward or a lengthy and complex process. Therefore it is essential to come up with a detailed plan for handling the migration. This will also help predict how long the implementation will take.

When it comes to planning data migration, you can never start too early. First determine if the data can be sourced from your current system. Then if possible, plan your migration for a time of the year when your company is not quite as busy.

Next examine what data is essential. Eliminate any repetitive or extraneous data. Remember you are implementing S/4HANA to become more efficient. Having any more than the essentials is counter-productive. This would also be the time to correct any erroneous data as well as key-in any missing information. All of this can be done well before migration starts.

3. Evaluate SAP-delivered Best Practices

SAP S/4HANA includes a series of Best Practices that you can activate and use as a reference for a variety of scopes. Once you have identified your scopes, the Best Practices will provide you with a recommended process flow and standard test script, while also allowing you to adopt/adapt them to your specific needs. This offers plenty of advantages and can make this process go so much smoother.

4. Be ready to do extensive testing before going live

Test, test and then test again. While it may seem a bit over the top to test your ERP system for every detail before going live, this is something that should not be skipped. It ensures you know how each part of the system works and prevents costly errors.  

Need help in your SAP implementation? Contact Panorama Consulting Solutions today!

Reinvented SAP SuccessFactors Mobile Delivers Unmatched Employee Experience

Reinvented SAP SuccessFactors Mobile Delivers Unmatched Employee Experience

SAP SE  today announced a completely new design of the SAP SuccessFactors Mobile app for iOS, to be made available on the Apple App Store later this month.

Driven by the partnership between Apple and SAP, the new iOS design will help revolutionize the HR experience for employees and managers, increasing engagement and impact of the SAP SuccessFactors human capital management (HCM) solutions across more than 47 million users worldwide. This announcement was made at SuccessConnect in London taking place June 12-14 at the ExCel London.

Mobile access is critical in today’s digital workforce, where success depends on being faster, smarter and more connected than the competition. SAP SuccessFactors Mobile helps to increase business agility by providing instant access to HR services across the SAP SuccessFactors HCM Suite, eliminating unnecessary delays when employees are on the go. HR can now deliver a differentiated employee and manager experience that is continuous, live, intelligent and connected. By putting people at the heart of digital transformation in the workplace, employees are more engaged and productive.

“Brooks Brothers is the longest-running retailer in the United States, and we take a lot of pride in our history of putting people first — both customers and our associates,” said Justin Watras, director of Talent Management and Organizational Effectiveness at Brooks Brothers. “As a brand pursuing rapid global expansion, our talent strategy has had to be aggressive and transformational. We’ve added new functionality nearly every quarter, and SAP SuccessFactors solutions continue to raise the bar — mobile being a big part of that. Giving our leaders and staff the ability to conduct HR processes — whether it’s accessing the organizational chart, approving transactions, sending onboarding materials or providing performance feedback — from any device has really driven efficiencies and elevated our performance culture.”

“Our digital transformation strongly involves HR with our ‘Mobile and Cloud First’ approach based on SAP SuccessFactors solutions,” said Aleš Drábek, chief digital and disruption officer at Conrad Electronic. “We believe our employees should be able to work from anywhere, anytime. As an electronics retailer looking to increase the number of products from 750,000 to 10 million in the B2B market in just a couple of years, remaining an attractive employer in the region is critical. SAP SuccessFactors solutions — all optimized for mobile — not only save time and empower users, but they also take the workforce and HR into the future to support the company’s overall digitalization.”

The SAP SuccessFactors Mobile app has been redesigned by combining the award-winning SAP Fiori user experience with a best-in-class Apple iOS experience. Updates now available to SAP SuccessFactors Mobile users include:

Continuous performance management and performance reviews
Learning certificates, history, task checklist, catalog search and approvals
Time sheets
Time-off requests and approvals
Updated search and org chart
Unified experience across iPhone and iPad
User experience enhancements such as simplified to-do screen, redesigned manager team view and reorganized people profile

“Consumer technology now sets the baseline for workplace technology,” said James Harvey, global head of Engineering and Service Delivery Operations at SAP SuccessFactors. “Employees are demanding intuitive, easy-to-use tools to do their work, connect and communicate. The SAP SuccessFactors Mobile app gives employees on-demand access to our industry-leading solutions from their device of choice. We’re excited about our partnership with Apple because it takes our commitment to meeting employees where they are a step further so we can truly help companies maximize productivity, engagement and passion.”

 

Read original press release.

New SAP Cloud Trust Center Delivers on Transparency, Security and Compliance in the Cloud

New SAP Cloud Trust Center Delivers on Transparency, Security and Compliance in the Cloud

SAP SE today announced the SAP Cloud Trust Center site, a public website that offers real-time information on the current operations of cloud solutions from SAP as well as the company’s approach to security and privacy.

With this announcement, three cloud solutions will be visible, with more planned in the coming year. Visitors to the Web site will be able to see some of the planned maintenance schedules, four weeks of historical data, real-time availability, security and data privacy so that they can make the best decisions for their critical business processes. Customers will be able to go to SAP ONE Support Launchpad and to access their personalized view.

“In our ongoing conversations with cloud customers, the number one thing we heard was transparency. They crave access to real-time information on system availability and performance,” said Michael Kleinemeier, Member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, SAP Digital Business Services, SAP. “With the launch of SAP Cloud Trust Center, we are giving everyone – from customers to the public – exposure to key aspects of how we run our cloud environment to continue building their trust and confidence in our capabilities.”

In addition to live status updates for cloud services, SAP Cloud Trust Center features:

  • A transparent view of how SAP delivers security, cybersecurity and data center security for cloud services
  • Clear explanations on how SAP handles data privacy and how the company protects the rights of individuals
  • Proof of compliance with international standards, including ISO and British standards and industry-specific and regional certificates; explanations of different service organization control reports and how they can be requested from SAP
  • Easy-to-understand agreements that can serve as the building blocks for subscribing to the SAP Cloud portfolio; examples and relevant quick facts that make it easy for a current or prospective customer to understand the process
  • Answers to common questions on trust-related cloud topics, such as security, data protection and privacy, and on compliance for the SAP Integrated Business Planning solution, the SAP Cloud Platform Integration service and SAP S/4HANA Cloud software.

 

Read original press release.

SAP Data Network Unlocks the Value in Enterprise Data

SAP Data Network Unlocks the Value in Enterprise Data

SAP SE today announced the launch of SAP Data Network, which helps organizations turn their transactional business data into actionable insights, enabling them to create new value in the form of unprecedented revenue opportunities, efficiency improvements and better customer experience.

“Our services enable customers to unlock the value in their own data — whether it’s top-line growth or bottom-line improvement,” said Helen Arnold, president, SAP Data Network. “Drawing on the power of SAP HANA and our team of highly skilled data scientists, we harness the transformative power of connected data.”

The new data-driven insight services from SAP Data Network enable executives to benchmark, plan, predict and simulate business scenarios using anonymized and aggregated data. SAP Data Network uses machine learning and natural language processing to normalize and enrich business data while adhering to the world-class standards SAP supports for data privacy, security and retention.

“Not all data is created equal. We place highest value on real-time transactional data and trusted supplemental third-party data,” said Arnold. “Business value is rapidly realized through a standardized process that begins with three days of ideation. A prototype is then developed in four weeks, and a company can begin to reap the benefits in nearly three months. Thus, customers can test desirability, viability and feasibility of data-driven services in weeks, as we fuel their agile innovation.”

The products deliver predictive modeling and simulation capabilities coupled with recommendation engines seamlessly embedded into the business processes so that customers can easily benchmark their operational excellence and execute from insights to action in real time.

Read original press release.

SAP S/4HANA Retail for Merchandise Management to Transform Sector

SAP S/4HANA Retail for Merchandise Management to Transform Sector

SAP SE today announced the release of the SAP S/4HANA Retail for merchandise management solution — an industry-specific version of the SAP S/4HANA product line.

The solution helps retailers meet the demands of a digital economy and omnichannel retailing end-to-end. Solution capabilities that support retail processes include:

  • End-to-end support for all core retail processes from master data down to point of sale, enabling retailers to deliver a better consumer experience
  • Insights into operational retail data, such as precise stock assessments, to empower users with contextual, real-time information for faster and better decision making combined with accelerated mission-critical processes such as replenishment
  • A simple and intuitive user interface to enable users at headquarters and store associates to improve efficiency and customer service

“Today, it is critical to continue to optimize processes and retail frameworks,” said Achim Schneider, global head of SAP Retail. “With SAP S/4HANA Retail for merchandise management, customers can explore other business models for improved best practices and implement new business processes based on data. The real-time analytics and insights allow our customers to not only keep pace with but anticipate the changing needs of consumers and the market, driving business decisions accordingly.”

Read original press release.

Vlog: How Long Does ERP Selection Actually Take?

Vlog: How Long Does ERP Selection Actually Take?

Clients will come to us and ask two questions: what is my ERP system going to cost, and how long is it going to take before we’re live?

The only way to truly answer that question with any specificity is to do an evaluation. The first stage of an ERP initiative is Evaluation and Selection, and companies should plan on three to six months. While that surprises most people, there are many reasons it takes that amount of time.

Companies may begin their research independently, and find high profile ERP names, such as InforEpicor or SAP.  It’s easy enough to search YouTube, watch some demos, and think “Great! That’s what I want!” Then call up a vendor and ask for a proposal, and figure you’re on the right path. Unfortunately, this is exactly how companies get themselves into trouble.

In this scenario, companies have put the cart before the horse. They have selected a system without knowing if it can actually provide the business and technical functionality that their organization needs.  Panorama’s methodology is to first begin with defining the requirements of a system, then searching for a system that can deliver that functionality.

ERP software is a major capital investment – up to 5-8% of a company’s annual revenue.  It can take years to implement and is meant to last at least a decade. Therefore, if you make a mistake, this is a very expensive mistake that will have some long term implications.

Panorama’s best practice Evaluation and Selection process includes: defining business and technical requirements, mapping business processes, gauging organizational readiness, vetting a long list down to a short list, managing vendor demonstrations and RFPs, and finally, completing contract negotiations, analyzing all of the data for cost-benefit analysis and delivering a final recommendation.  These steps take time, but ensure a wise long term investment.

Making the right decision, and making it for the right reason at the right time is absolutely essential.

New Data Science Curriculum Gives Businesses the Power of Analytics

SAP

SAP today announced a new Data Science Curriculum that combines business and industry-specific expertise with technical hands-on know-how to apply this in SAP software environment.

It is planned to complement this in 2017 with certification. The curriculum aims to equip data scientists with SAP solutions and technology knowledge. It uses the SAP HANA platform, SAP BusinessObjects Predictive Analytics software and SAP Data Services software and visualization tools to bridge the digital divide between business and IT. The announcement was made at SAP TechEd Barcelona.

Every day 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created*. This means that 90 percent of today’s existing data was created over the last two years. In light of this immense amount of data, businesses need data scientists who can utilize techniques and theories from the fields of mathematics, statistics, information science, and computer science to extract knowledge from large volumes of structured and unstructured data.

“The ability to derive actionable insight from data is an essential element in making businesses successful in today’s digital world,” said Bernd Welz, executive vice president, Scale, Enablement and Transformation, SAP. “Our Data Science Curriculum provides learners with the tools they need to infuse analytics into their problem-solving process as they work to make critical business decisions.”

The new curriculum addresses two of the main skill sets needed by data scientists: understanding the lifecycle of a data science project and understanding the appropriate tools and capabilities to support each part of the data science project lifecycle.

The new offering aids participants in being the most innovative in the field. In particular, these data scientists will be able to analyze large, complex data sets using tools in the SAP BusinessObjects Cloud solution and produce visually attractive reports using SAP Fiori user experience.

Aimed at application consultants, data scientists, business and data analysts, developers and researchers as well as graduate students, the program provides participants with unique learning journeys. These journeys provide learners with guidance and road maps to seek out their most effective learning path to becoming a data scientist focused on SAP software. Delivered digitally through the openSAP platform and SAP Learning Hub, as well as on-site from training centers sponsored by SAP, the program addresses the main skill areas of data scientists through lectures, system demonstrations, case study analysis and practice.

The Data Science Curriculum supports the effort to increase the number of data scientists skilled in working with massive data from Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Ubiquitous sensors are generating Big Data across all aspects of digital life, creating opportunities for companies to gain real-time analytic insights using IoT applications.

Click here to read the full press release.

Overview of the Top 10 ERP Systems

Overview of the Top 10 ERP Systems

Potential buyers of enterprise technologies have hundreds of ERP systems to choose from. In fact, we track the leading 250+ systems in our internal ERP vendor database to help our consulting teams provide data to our clients selecting and implementing new software.

The entire evaluation process can be daunting, which is why we have compiled our first annual Top 10 ERP System Rankings. These rankings – which are 100% independent and based on our quantitative research and experience with hundreds of enterprise and ERP software packages in the industry – are based on five key criteria: market share, time to implement, cost to implement, time to realize benefits and functional scoring from our clients.

You can download the full report here, but in the meantime, here are a few highlights of which ERP systems made the top three in each of the categories we evaluated:

ERP System Market Share

Although this may not determine the “best” systems in the market, it is a good indicator of level of industry adoption and the amount of resources that are spent on research and development. It should come as no surprise that the leading three vendors (SAP HANA, Oracle, and Microsoft Dynamics 365) fill out the top three.

ERP System Market Share
SAP HANA 20.3%
Oracle 13.9%
Microsoft Dynamics 365 9.4%

 

Time to Implement

Many organizations fear a long, drawn out implementation timeframe, so looking at what results companies are actually achieving can be a good benchmark. Although ERP implementations for larger organizations can often last years, the following three vendors had the shortest implementation durations: Oracle, Infor CloudSuite, and SAP HANA.

 

ERP System Implementation Time (months)
Oracle 25
Infor CloudSuite 30
SAP HANA 34

 

Implementation Costs

ERP implementation costs can range from a few hundred thousand dollars for smaller organizations to tens of millions of dollars for larger, multi-national organizations. That wide discrepancy in numbers can be difficult to make sense of, so we’ve normalized implementation costs in our study to account for different company sizes. IQMS, NetSuite, and IFS are the leading ERP systems in terms of those that can be implemented with the least amount of total cost, as expressed as a percentage of the organization’s annual revenue. For example, a 5% figure would suggest that the average $100M company will spend a total of $5M on their ERP initiative.

ERP System Implementation Cost (% of revenue)
NetSuite 2.8%
IQMS 2.9%
IFS 4.0%

 

ERP System Functional Score 

Organizations typically purchase new ERP software because they are looking for specific functionality, and each solution in the market has its own strengths, weaknesses and tradeoffs. When we examine the functional scores that our own clients give various solutions in the market, we find that there are three that stand out above the rest. Keep in mind that these scores are average across all functional areas, so it is important to also examine how these systems compare across different business processes (contact us for more detailed functionality scores for all the leading ERP systems).

 

ERP System Average Functional Score (Scale of 5)
IFS 3.6
Oracle 3.33
Epicor 3.2

 

 

Time to Realize Business Benefits 

Finally, our in-depth study also looks at how long it takes companies to realize enough business benefits to justify a positive payback on their initial investment, which can range to a few months to a few years. As the data below illustrates, SAP HANA, Epicor, and NetSuite lead this category.

 

ERP System Time to Realize Payback (months)
SAP HANA 8.5
Epicor 8.6
NetSuite 8.7

 

So what does this all mean to you? First, it means that there are plenty of enterprise systems to choose from in the market, and these just happen to be the ones that made our first top 10 list. Second, it means that while this is good information to start with during your ERP software selection process, it is just one of many data points you should use when considering new software. You ultimately need to decide what criteria are most important to you, then narrow down your potential options based on your unique criteria. This is something Panorama has helped hundreds of organizations across the globe accomplish.

Download the full Top 10 ERP System Rankings Report to see the entire top 10 list and to see how the various vendors compare to one another in each of the criteria used in the study.

SAP Modernizes Data Warehousing With the Launch of SAP BW/4HANA

SAP SE today unveiled SAP BW/4HANA, a next-generation data warehouse application for running a real-time digital enterprise.

In addition to traditional on-premise deployment, the new solution will soon be available on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud service so companies can conveniently modernize their data warehousing environments and accelerate their digital journey into the cloud.

With SAP BW/4HANA, customers will have a much simpler and more powerful way of achieving real-time analytics through a new foundation for logical data warehousing that provides the interactivity with historical and live data residing in a diverse IT landscape, whether within or outside the enterprise. To answer demand for open, highly scalable IT systems, SAP BW/4HANA will provide an open data warehousing environment for rapid application development, a modern user interface, advanced multitemperature data handling and support for cloud-ready offerings including AWS and SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, with other third-party cloud platforms expected to follow.

Making Businesses More Agile

To stay ahead of today’s fast-paced business requirements, users of SAP BW/4HANA will be empowered with modern data modeling techniques coupled with a unified and more streamlined data warehouse object model. In addition, simplified governance features will enable agile data warehouse development that will deliver improved business insights in real time. Business applications, including those based on SAP S/4HANA, will be able to leverage a prebuilt data warehouse or more standard, SQL-based development environment, resulting in faster, more versatile data warehouse solutions for improved business agility.

“As an early adopter of SAP BW/4HANA running on AWS, we reduced our end-to-end production time by 50 percent, allowing us to deliver a powerful new analytics platform with minimal up-front investment in just three months,” said Diego Lombardini, head of Finance Systems, Fairfax Media Pty. Ltd. “To support our constantly changing business, we now have an extremely flexible, highly scalable cloud environment that is capable of future-proofing our business.”

SAP BW/4HANA customers will benefit from:

  • An end-to-end data management platform for running a live digital business through the automatic generation of views in SAP HANA that combine SQL data logic and application data taken directly from SAP S/4HANA
  • Extreme performance through advanced, in-memory analytics and algorithm pushdown
  • Faster application development with a fully redesigned user interface for enhanced data flow modeling
  • Reduced data management and storage costs through automatic distribution of multitemperature data
  • Efficient data warehouse migration and implementation with unified data load management and full scale-out support, as a de facto standard for customers
  • Easy transition for customers with the SAP Business Warehouse application to SAP BW/4HANA through utility features

Increasing Versatility in the Cloud

To help ensure customers of all sizes can conveniently implement an affordable data warehouse system, SAP BW/4HANA will be available with built-in deployment for AWS and SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, with additional cloud deployment options expected to follow. In addition, SAP BW/4HANA will provide the ability to seamlessly connect to the SAP BusinessObjects Cloud solution, which will deliver a powerful environment for visualization, storytelling and data exploration. As a result, SAP BW4HANA comes with built-in connectivity to SAP Digital Boardroom. These highly flexible deployment options will add elasticity, versatility and superior price-performance options for customers.

Coinciding with the launch of SAP BW/4HANA, SAP has issued a new certification for AWS’s memory-optimized X1 instances. The new certification covers scale-out deployments up to 7 nodes totaling 14 TB of memory, making it an ideal platform for customers who want to quickly deploy enterprise workloads in SAP HANA on AWS. For more information about the new certifications and X1 instances, visit the AWS website and the AWS blog.

“With SAP BW/4HANA and AWS, customers get the ability to run SAP’s modernized data warehouse for the real-time analytics that power their business, with the elasticity, flexibility and reliability of the AWS Cloud,” said Peter DeSantis, vice president, Compute Services, AWS. “Offering more memory than any other SAP-certified cloud instance available today, AWS’s X1 instances are purpose built for customers who want to quickly try, deploy, run and optimize their critical workloads in SAP HANA at scale, without investing in on-premise infrastructure.”

Defining the Next-Generation Data Warehouse

SAP BW/4HANA intends to deliver on SAP’s vision of a next-generation data warehouse that will significantly reduce data movement and duplication by analyzing data wherever it resides, whether in data lakes with the SAP HANA Voraengine or in legacy systems within or outside the enterprise. It will also integrate live streaming and time-series sensor data collected from Internet of Things environments via smart data streaming, an event stream processing option in SAP HANA. These advanced approaches will provide unprecedented flexibility, real-time performance and the ability to overcome the challenges of data silos from highly distributed data sources. With the addition of sophisticated hot, warm or cold data temperature management and compression, enterprises can ensure all data is primed to drive rapid results at much lower storage costs.

“The digitization of business requires a modern approach to data management, data processing and analytics that can handle any data source and type in real time,” said Bernd Leukert, member of the Executive Board, Products & Innovation, SAP SE. “With SAP BW/4HANA and our collaboration with AWS, the leading cloud infrastructure provider, we are providing customers with an easy-to-consume next-generation data warehouse platform that will further accelerate their journey toward becoming a live digital business.”

SAP BW/4HANA will be released to customers on September 7, 2016. Please tune into a live stream event on Wednesday, September 7, at 1:00 p.m. EDT with SAP and AWS.

For more information, visit SAP BW/4HANA and the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @sapnews.

Sap vs. Oracle: Is a Tier I Solution Right for You?

SAP and Oracle are undoubtedly the two powerhouses of ERP. Panorama’s 2016 ERP Report shows them as the most frequently shortlisted vendors. But how do you know which is the better choice for YOUR organization in not only the SAP vs Oracle debate, but across all vendors? Also, even if a Tier I solution is a good fit for your enterprise, what deployment method fits your needs?

The answer is: it depends. Finding what type of software best aligns with your company for cost, functionality, unique requirements and its management of IT infrastructure. This can be narrowed down to two variables: complexity and control.

ERP Systems
Tier I On Premise

Tier I works best for large, multinational corporations that view technology as one of their competitive advantages. Organizations needing to have tight control over their IT infrastructure will have better luck using Tier I on-premise solutions because they are much more customizable and offer companies greater control over their data.

Tier I Hosted in the Cloud

Tier I solutions hosted in the cloud are less customizable than on premise solutions and their data security is controlled by the vendor. However, the lack of customization allows for easier upgrades and can provide large corporations greater overall stability.

Download our white paper, Clash of the Titans 2016 for a research analysis of the four titans of the Tier I ERP Market!

Tier II, III and Best of Breed

Smaller and less complex organizations are more likely to look at niche solutions from Tier II, III or best-of-breed vendors. This can be the best fit for companies that don’t necessarily need software with huge levels of scale or broad and sophisticated functionality; therefore, they don’t need to consider a Tier I solution.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS is a viable option for many small to mid-sized businesses (SMB’s). It is a much smaller initial investment than its on premise counterparts, yet it offers little customization, data security that is in the hands of the vendor and its integration with other systems is limited. Though, for a SMB with low organization complexity and little need for control over IT infrastructure, this can be a great fit.

Every company is different and has different business needs. Because of this, it is important to understand which types of ERP systems will work best in your specific situation. Just because you are a SMB doesn’t necessarily mean you may fit into a Tier II, SaaS or best of breed solution. For example, a smaller organization that produces nuclear material may need a Tier I solution because of their extremely complex processes revolving around the shelf life of their product.   The chart above can help determine how to best address your ERP needs, but working with a partner to identify your unique requirements and the software meets them will steer you toward ERP success.

If you’re going through the process of trying to figure out what system is right for you, first of all, you’re not alone. Second of all, feel free to check out our vendor database. Otherwise we would love to talk with you. Call us at (720) 515-1377 or send us an email to [email protected].

Written by Kiersten Williams, Business Analyst at Panorama Consulting Solutions. 

SAP Leads Global Market Shift to Cloud Analytics with Acquisition of Roambi

SAP SE today announced plans to accelerate its leadership position in the cloud with innovations built on the SAP HANA platform, predictive capabilities and mobile business intelligence that aim to enable users to benefit from consumer-grade experience and enterprise-scale performance.

With the acquisition of the Roambi suite of solutions and related key assets, SAP intends to bring mobile access to analytics to everyone. In addition, SAP unveiled new predictive capabilities to analysts, developers and partners with SAP Predictive Analytics software planned for availability in the near future. Furthermore, a special trade-in promotion is now available to help users move away from other vendors’ disparate limited-functionality desktop tools to SAP offerings that aim to bring easy-to-use analytics solutions independent of IT or line-of-business needs. The announcement was jointly made at SAPinsider BI 2016, being held February 16–19 in Las Vegas, and Spark Summit East, being held February 16–18 in New York.

“The old analytics strategy-to-execution loop is not real time, agile or democratic enough to adjust to digital realities,” said Steve Lucas, president, Digital Enterprise Platform, SAP. “SAP, a global leader in analytics, has completely changed the game and is now delivering a broad set of consumer-grade analytics solutions at enterprise scale across every industry and line of business. SAP aims to deliver all-in-one analytics for everyone, available in the cloud and on premise, designed to be ubiquitous and real time — something niche players in the analytics space cannot offer.”

With these planned innovations and recently announced offerings including the SAP Cloud for Analytics solution for unified analytics and the SAP Digital Boardroom for live monitoring, SAP continues to deliver all-in-one analytics to help customers reimagine their business.

SAP Aims to Allow Mobile Business Intelligence Users to Stay Competitive in an Always-On Business Environment

Even today, the majority of the workforce still does not have access to insightful analytics, especially when traveling or working remotely. SAP has been focused on remedying this issue and is recognized as a mobile business intelligence leader. With the acquisition of the Roambi suite of solutions and related key assets, SAP intends to continue delivering innovations that enable users with tangible, easy-to-use analytics solutions that can retrieve relevant data anywhere, anytime.

Roambi is a mobile-centric analytics and data visualization solution that redesigns the way the world uses critical information by enabling people from frontline staff and consumers to managers and executives to view, interact with and share data anytime, anywhere.

SAP Predictive Analytics and Predictive Services Aim to Help All Types of Personas

SAP Predictive Analytics already helps provide a foundation to build and manage a massive number of predictive models to train and score against a variety of targets including enterprise relational sources, existing SAP software systems and Big Data sources either directly or through Spark.

“We use SAP Predictive Analytics as part of our larger SAP deployment, which also includes SAP HANA, to find out when one of our products might fail,” said Anders Reinhardt, head of business intelligence, VELUX A/S. “This not only helps from a cost-saving perspective, but it also enables us to let our customers know we might have an issue and, more important, explain how we can fix that issue. It’s about creating a better customer experience.”

The new version of SAP Predictive Analytics plans to bring a new set of features such as native Spark modeling to analysts and data scientists. The features are intended to dramatically increase performance when analyzing data in Hadoop-based environments. SAP Predictive Analytics 2.5, planned to be generally available in the near future, is designed to increase a data scientist’s productivity and performance through ensemble modeling and tighter integration with libraries for SAP HANA. The planned introduction of native Spark modeling leverages Spark to perform a number of automated predictive analysis tasks without requiring costly data transfers outside of the Hadoop environment.

To read full press release, click here.

SAP vs. Oracle vs. Microsoft Dynamics vs. Infor: Payback Period

Panorama’s Clash of the Titans 2016 provides an independent comparison of SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics and Infor. Watch this webinar clip for an analysis of the average payback periods for these four vendors.

The vendor with the most respondents receiving payback in less than a year is Oracle (20-percent), followed by SAP (13-percent). However, compared to SAP, Oracle has a higher percentage of implementations that take three years or more to provide payback. A large percentage (40-percent) of organizations implementing Infor reported no recouped costs, and a large percentage (43-percent) of organizations implementing Microsoft Dynamics reported three years or more until recouped costs.

Significant customization may contribute to long payback periods, while using out-of-the-box functionality and best practices with minimal customization can result in shorter payback periods.

The full webinar is available here: Review of Panorama’s 2016 Clash of the Titans Report. For more YouTube videos and webinar clips, visit our YouTube Channel.

SAP and Philips Team Up to Make Cities Smarter With SAP HANA

SAP SE and Philips, today announced a collaboration that will link real-time information from Philips connected streetlights with data from other sensors in a single integrated city dashboard to help cities gather valuable information.

The joint offering combines real-time situational awareness based on the SAP HANA platform with the Philips CityTouch street lighting management system to give planners a 360-degree view of data — such as street lighting, parking and traffic controls — to plan better and manage costs.

The agreement between SAP and Philips started in Buenos Aires, where Philips is refurbishing 91,000 streetlights with LEDs, controlled by Philips’ CityTouch, which interfaces directly with the SAP HANA platform. Buenos Aires is able to manage more than 700,000 assets, including streetlights, parks, bus stops, buildings and bridges. For example, by analyzing real-time sensor data, the city can monitor storm drains to mitigate risks caused by heavy rains. Remote management of each individual streetlight point is possible with Philips’ CityTouch remote management system, which allows remote adjustment of lighting levels, dramatically reducing energy consumption and maintenance costs. As a result, Buenos Aires has been able to increase operational efficiency, realize energy savings of over 50 percent and greatly improve safety and quality of life for its 13 million residents.

“SAP is pleased to work with Philips to make Buenos Aires Latin America’s pioneer in becoming a leading digital city, where real-time analytics and prediction drive better city services in areas such as lighting, sustainability and efficiency,” said Sean Patrick O’Brien, global lead, SAP Future Cities, SAP. “More than 4,000 regional, local and city organizations use SAP today, and with this agreement we can jointly expand on our commitment to improve the quality of lives for our customers and citizens.”

Bill Bien, SVP, head of strategy and marketing at Philips Lighting, said: “As less than 1 percent of the world’s streetlights are connected, we have a tremendous opportunity to help cities follow Buenos Aires’ lead and join the other 30 countries worldwide who have implemented Philips’ CityTouch. Together with SAP, we can rapidly transform the world’s cities into smart cities and help them address a wide range of needs caused by urban expansion and population growth, unlocking the benefits of light beyond illumination.”

For more information, visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @sapnews.

SAP vs. Oracle vs. Microsoft Dynamics vs. Infor: Total Cost of Ownership

Panorama’s Clash of the Titans 2016 provides an independent comparison of SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics and Infor. Watch this webinar clip for a more in-depth analysis of the total cost of ownership for these four vendors.

SAP, Oracle and Microsoft Dynamics projects all show an increase between planned and actual total cost of ownership, while Infor implementations show a decrease. Organizations that plan for all components of a successful implementation will reduce their risk of budget and timeline overruns or increased resource and staffing needs.

The full webinar is available here: Review of Panorama’s 2016 Clash of the Titans Report.

For more YouTube videos and webinar clips, visit our YouTube Channel.

SAP Launches SAP Vehicles Network in Europe

SAP SE today announced the availability of the SAP Vehicles Network solution in Europe. Based on SAP HANA Cloud Platform for the Internet of Things (IoT), the solution allows companies to offer secure, convenient end-to-end mobile- and vehicle-centric services, independent of devices or vehicles. SAP Vehicles Network was launched in the United States and is now available in key European markets, with a number of leading parking aggregators including EasyPark, ParkCloud and OPG Center-Parking as launch partners. The announcement was made at SAP TechEd, being held November 10–12 in Barcelona.

SAP Vehicles Network allows mobile wallet providers, mobile app providers and automotive companies to integrate pay-at-the-pump capabilities and parking services into their overall in-car or mobile user experience. SAP is delivering on its commitment to provide a standard and simple business process for consuming mobile fueling and mobile parking services and to expand the availability and the coverage of the services in Europe and North America. Enrolled network members in Europe can take advantage of the services to deliver an improved, simple and delightful experience for consumers.

“Mobile parking has become an indispensable service with millions of customers who conveniently pay for parking via their mobile devices,” said Johan Birgersson, CEO of EasyPark. “SAP Vehicles Network allows EasyPark to address new sales channels such as automotive OEMs, mobile wallet providers and third-party app providers, who can now easily integrate mobile parking into a seamless in-car or mobile experience.”

To provide a broad range of parking inventory, SAP is working with leading parking aggregators and operators including:

  • EasyPark, a leading provider of mobile parking services in Europe, with parking inventory in eight European countries and more than 400 city and parking operator contracts located in cities including Berlin, Barcelona and Rome.
  • ParkCloud, a leading provider of airport parking, doing business in 39 countries worldwide. ParkCloud’s inventory consists of 1,250 car parks in 414 locations covering a total of 340,000 bookable parking spaces primarily located in airports and ports.
  • OPG Center-Parking, one of the leading providers of off-street parking in Germany, with 65 off-street parking garages located in 18 cities including Berlin, Hamburg and Dresden.

“Available in over 600 cities and 8,500 locations across Europe and North America, SAP Vehicles Network is an industry- leading solution providing digital transformation, simplification and standardization for the parking industry,” said Dr. Tanja Rueckert, executive vice president, IoT & Customer Innovation, SAP. “By combining the capabilities of IoT, cloud-based business processes and mobile payments, SAP Vehicles Network enables enrolled network members to innovate on new business models and generate new revenue streams while delivering an easy, sustainable and convenient vehicle-centric experience.”

By simplifying the business process to a single click and enabling users and companies to share data in a secure manner, SAP Vehicles Network provides a flexible framework for any app provider, wallet provider or automotive firm to deliver a delightful parking and fueling experience to its customers.

For more information, visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @sapnews.

SAP, Google Enter Patent Cross-Licensing Agreement

Google Inc. and SAP SE have entered into a long-term patent cross licensing agreement that covers a broad range of products and technologies.

The agreement covers the companies’ existing patents and those filed over the next five years.

“We are pleased to enter into this agreement with a leading global technology company like SAP and welcome discussions with any company interested in similar arrangements,” said Kirk Dailey, Head of Patent Transactions at Google. “Cross-license agreements like this enable companies to focus on bringing great products and services to consumers around the world.”

This agreement advances the relationship between the companies, which joined the LOT Network in 2014, a community-based patent-licensing agreement designed to reduce for its members patent troll litigation and the growing practice of patent privateering.

“We are proud to announce this important agreement with Google, a global leader in technology,” said Tony DiBartolomeo, Chief IP Counsel, SAP. “Giving talented engineers and developers the freedom to build great products is key to promoting innovation. Patent cross-license agreements like this one increase freedom to operate and prevent distractions from unnecessary patent litigation. And, like Google, SAP welcomes similar discussions with like-minded companies.”

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Gartner Positions SAP as a Leader in the 2015 Magic Quadrant for Mobile Application Development Platforms

SAP SE  today announced that it has been positioned by independent analyst firm Gartner, Inc., in the leaders’ quadrant of the “Magic Quadrant for Mobile Application Development Platforms” 2015 Report

“We believe SAP is a leader in this market because we recognized the transformative power of mobile devices and apps years ago, and have worked alongside our customers to create technologies and solutions to help them securely and easily mobilize their enterprises,” said Rick Costanzo, EVP and general manager, telco industry and mobile solutions, SAP. “SAP’s mobile offerings give our customers the ability to quickly and securely create, deploy and manage mobile applications in either an on-premise or cloud-based environment.”

The ITU recently reported that there are more than 7 billion mobile cellular subscriptions, representing a 97 percent mobile penetration rate globally. This ubiquity means that individuals, employees and customers all expect information and processes to be accessible using mobile devices and mobile apps. Mobile platforms provide the tools and technologies that enterprises need in order to deliver mobile apps out to their end users and are therefore key enablers of the digital economy.

SAP customers are able to deploy SAP Mobile Platform on premise or access mobile services in the cloud through SAP HANA Cloud Platform. The mobile application development capabilities in SAP Mobile Platform 3.0 are in use across a broad set of industries and enable businesses to create mobile apps with consumer-grade usability and innovation. The platform includes application development tools, a software development kit and mobile commerce services. The most recent service pack (SP07) of SAP Mobile Platform, made available in April 2015, offers enhanced developer capabilities for database integration and improved push application programming interfaces (APIs). In addition, the latest updates add management capabilities for applications based on the SAP Fiori user experience.

SAP Mobile Platform also includes APIs to the SAP Mobile Secure portfolio so enterprises can securely and easily deploy newly built applications. In conjunction with the mobile platform, SAP offers several hundred prebuilt mobile applications and supports a strong partner ecosystem to help customers execute on their mobile strategy.

SAP HANA Cloud Platform is an open platform-as-a-service, providing unique in-memory database, business application and mobile services. Customers are able to quickly build, extend and integrate modern, mobile-enabled apps to meet business needs.

To read full article, click here.

ERP Failure? Five Ways to Build a Successful Case in an ERP Lawsuit

istock_000040383088large-300x196“Worst case scenario.” Those are never the words you want to hear when starting a new ERP implementation. However, based on how many system integrators and implementing organizations run their initiatives, these implementations too often lead to moderate or extreme failure.

In unfortunate cases, these implementations turn to lawsuits. Over the last several years, I have had a front row seat to over a dozen of the highest profile lawsuits in the world as an ERP expert witness – and some interesting lessons come along with our forensic reconstruction of what went wrong in each of these cases.
Below are five things to keep in mind as you’re building – or defending – a potential legal case involving your ERP implementation:

  1. A successful case begins with avoiding ERP failure in the first place. Of course, the most effective case is one that doesn’t get escalated to attorneys in the first place. Planning a project with reasonable assumptions, expectations, resources, budgets and both team roles and responsibilities will dramatically decrease the likelihood that your implementation ends up being told as a story in the courtroom. Most importantly, it is important to recognize that as the company implementing new enterprise technology, you and your team are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the project.
  1. ERP failures and lawsuits typically come down to issues with people and processes – not technology. Many cases that we’ve been involved with attempt to focus on technical issues such as whether or not the software “works” or whether or not the new system could handle the data requirements of the business. However, these issues rarely make or break an implementation. Instead, these are more commonly symptoms of deeper root causes related to people and processes, such as failure to engage in effective business process reengineering or organizational change management. Whether you are implementing SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics or any variety of Tier II ERP systems, your chances of success are likely to have little to anything to do with the software itself.
  1. Organizational change management is a key issue in every ERP lawsuit. Speaking of organizational change management, this is an area that is commonly one of the most important issues in a case – if not the most important. In every case that I have provided expert witness testimony on thus far, a project’s failure to address the people side of the equation is one of the key root causes of failure, which often leads to a domino effect of other issues throughout the implementation. Whichever side of a lawsuit that you may be on, it is vital to carefully explore what may have gone wrong in your OCM initiative.
  1. Both the implementing organization and the system integrator are typically at fault. You typically hear two extremely different stories of what went wrong. It goes like this: company hires vendor or system integrator, project fails, company tries to pin all blame on vendor or system integrator and then the system integrator attempts to deflect blame back to the implementing company. While it takes two parties to make an ERP implementation successful, it is possible that a project can fail mostly due to the acts of one party or another.
  1. Recognize that ERP failures don’t happen overnight. It can be tempting to blame an ERP failure on a single, catastrophic event, but in reality, ERP failures brew for quite some time before they reach the breaking point. While managing your project, look at all the little things – which in fact are big things – that slowly kill your project. And if you have reached the point of litigation, fully analyze and understand all the little things that added up to one giant failure rather than honing in on one singular cause.

There are many more lessons to be had from these cases, but these five tips will help ensure your organization is able to build a strong case, or better yet, avoid failure in the first place.

Learn more by registering for tomorrow’s webinar, Confessions of an SAP Expert Witness.

SAP Plans Assortment Planning Tool for the Connected Retailer

In the age of the empowered consumer, shoppers have higher expectations of retailers, and require fresh, compelling assortments to stay engaged and loyal.

To help retailers meet these challenges, SAP SE today announced plans to launch the SAP Assortment Planning for Retail application, which is envisioned to enable retailers to optimally cluster stores using attributes then select and plan items per store cluster in order to maximize sales and profit. The announcement was made at the NRF 104th Annual Convention and EXPO, being held January 11-12 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.

Given financial and space constraints, retailers must periodically decide the right product breadth and depth for a given period of time for each location. Retailers need the right tools to arrive at the right balance. Combining art and science, planners need to align purchase budgets with assortment plans. SAP Assortment Planning for Retail is envisioned to take advantage of the SAP HANA platform, a real-time platform for next-generation applications and analytics, to rapidly determine optimal location clusters and speed up the assortment planning process. SAP Assortment Planning for Retail intends to also leverage the SAP Fiori user experience, providing a simpler and more efficient user experience, and is planned to be built on the SAP Customer Activity Repository application, which collects customer activity, sales and inventory data in one place.

Planned key features of SAP Assortment Planning for Retail:

  • Planning of assortments, sales and purchase quantities by product group and location cluster
  • Application of attributes, metrics and clustering techniques to group locations
  • The ability to balance assortment width and depth with option planning
  • The use of sales history to suggest assortment lists and reference “like” product performance to introduce new products
  • Simplified new product planning using placeholder products
  • The ability to leverage the flexible planning engine to tailor metrics, plan unlimited versions and manage the calculation sequence using rules of precedence

“Retailers often struggle with planning large assortments manually with just spreadsheets, a lack of integrated business processes and the rapid changes in the marketplace,” said Lori Mitchell-Keller, senior vice president of Global Retail Industry Business Unit, SAP. “The development of SAP Assortment Planning for Retail is envisioned to allow retailers to simplify this business process and leap-frog their competition as they take advantage of this next-generation planning solution.”

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