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Live from SAPinsider Studio: William Newman on SAP EPM and SAP Value Realization Management

November 12, 2014

William Newman, Senior Principal, SAP Business Transformation Services, discusses SAP EPM and SAP Value Realization Management during an interview with SAPinsider at Planning & Performance Management 2014. Topics of this wide-ranging interview include:

  • SAP Simple Finance and how it offers a consistent user experience in the cloud for strategic planning, global trade and audit management activities
  • The SAP roadmap for enterprise performance management (EPM)
  • SAP Cloud for Planning, a new EPM solution built on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform
  • SAP Value Realization Management rapid-deployment solution
  • The value of SAP HANA in EPM strategy

View the video, and read the edited transcript of the conversation with William Newman here:

Ken Murphy, SAPinsider: Hi, this is Ken Murphy with SAPinsider and I am at the SAPinsider Planning & Performance Management 2014 event, and I am pleased to be joined by William Newman of SAP. Bill, welcome.

William Newman, SAP: Thanks very much Ken.

KM: I was hoping you could start, for our viewers who may not know you, if you could just introduce yourself and your role with SAP?

WN: That would be great. So, Bill Newman. I am a Senior Principal with SAP Business Transformation Services. That’s our business consulting arm, and I work with some of the top 100 accounts strategic engagements in the Midwest.

KM: And does that include the EPM business in some capacity?

WN:Yes, so what we often are doing is a number of Value Realization, Value Management activities as part of our strategic engagement model, and this is where a number of the enterprise performance management (EPM) packages – everything from financial planning to Value Realization can come into play.

KM: And so can you tell us a little bit about what may be new from SAP in the EPM space this year?

WN: This year has been a big year for the enterprise performance management space. We had the introduction of SAP EPM 10.0 and SAP EPM 10.1 solution sets, the roadmap came out in June. SAP has had a history of a number of different acquisitions in the enterprise performance management space, and so this was really an opportunity to bring together the user interface, as well as the ability for the applications to use different datasets and different data stores consistently across the solution set. So that’s one thing. Another thing was the introduction of SAP Simple Finance, which was announced at SAPPHIRE. And what SAP Simple Finance is, is a broad set of solutions that are cloud-based, which then allow everything from strategic planning to global trade and audit management, which allow companies to have an option to do their EPM activities in the cloud, which is great. It gives people choice and it helps to simplify the user experience for them.

KM: So that’s the theme we’ve been hearing a lot from SAP is simplification; can you elaborate on in the context of how simplification is important in that space in particular?

WN: An example in the keynote this morning was the announcement this morning of SAP Cloud for Planning, and it will start initially with business planning similar to how people use the traditional BPC tool that is very popular inside of the SAP EPM suite. And what we’re finding is that as these tools become more mature and easier to use and have grown in their popularity, is that their use has occurred in multiple areas inside of the same corporate organization. So now we’re kind of back to where we were in the early 2000’s and the late 1990’s where we’re competing for a similar view of the truth. And what SAP Simple Finance can allow large corporations is to have a consistent user experience in the cloud without disparity in terms of where the data organization may be coming from. It’s a bit more of a consistent approach in terms of how to aggregate corporate performance in some of the other solutions in the SAP Simple Finance set.

KM: You mentioned Value Realization Management. Can you explain what that is?

WN: I’m doing a session this week on Value Realization Management RDS, so the rapid-deployment solution. The concept of Value Realization is that if I am working through a portfolio, a number of programs, and each one of those has a certain ROI platform, or expectancy. Those different ROI models need to be able to be managed together as an overall portfolio. And it’s not as if I’m going to implement one project here and one project there; there are a number of expectations in terms of realizing and harvesting those benefits that come from value realization models, as well as being able to do some level-setting across industry-specific benchmarks. So if I know I’m going to do something say for example in the customer engagement space, or the financial performance space, the key point is that in my industry there are certain expected returns on investment. And SAP has a broad value engineering approach that include a rich set of benchmarks, and what the Value Realization RDS enables customers to do is to take a look at that benchmark information, that rich database, spec out what the possible return on investment envelopes might look like for their particular organization, and then articulate what those different strategic investments might look like, aligned to a company’s strategy. One of the cornerstones to the RDS is using the SAP Strategy Management Solution which is the strategic enablement solution as part of SAP EPM. So the Value Realization applies methods and practices in the use of that solution for the benefit and realizing of value inside of large program portfolios or very strategic multi-year, multi-site projects.

KM: Switching gears a little bit I want to ask you lastly about SAP HANA, specifically as it fits within the EPM landscape. Where is SAP HANA going to be making the most impact for organizations in enterprise performance management?

WN: The good news for SAP and its customers is everywhere. All of the on-premises solutions are now HANA-enabled with release 10.0 (SAP EPM 10.0) so that’s good. So being able to consolidate more complex reporting – we talked in today’s session about this concept of moving beyond budgeting, so that when I’m actually in my financial management cycles -- oftentimes companies work toward a specific report, and so they might be doing a report or a monthly, quarterly, or annual disclosure – well, with the benefit of leveraging the speed and accuracy of SAP HANA, you’re able to actually do the analysis work and the reports kind of fall out of that rather than the other way around. And this is a bit of a paradigm shift for financial organizations inside of particularly large corporations. Being able to aggregate multiple subsidiary financial close and disclosures together, enabled very quickly with SAP HANA. And of course the SAP Simple Finance solution is powered by SAP HANA in the SAP HANA Cloud (Platform). So the good news is, is that we’re bringing our innovations relative to SAP HANA across the entire domain of the SAP EPM applications, and we’re seeing the benefits now with our customer base.

KM: Bill, thank you for joining us.

WN: Thank you very much, Ken.

KM: Again, this is Ken Murphy with SAPinsider reporting from SAPinsider’s Planning & Performance Management 2014 conference. We’ve been speaking with William Newman of SAP.

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