SAP is combining its business intelligence and portals software, claiming that the move will let users optimise business processes and improve efficiency. But early customers have warned that consultancy fees associated with such projects can be significant.
The German software manufacturer unveiled its latest mySAP BI integrated product at its customer fair in Leipzig on Wednesday (30 January).
"We allow people to connect various systems through SAP Portals, then provide business intelligence for all systems," said chief executive Hasso Plattner.
mySAP BI combines SAP's latest Business Warehouse software with its Enterprise Portal. This enables firms to "get actionable data across all enterprise systems", according to Shai Agassi, chief executive of SAP's portals division.
Using Business Warehouse, Dutch car paint manufacturer Akzo Nobel improved its revenues by one per cent by ironing out production and distribution inefficiencies, said business intelligence project manager Willem Meijer.
But the project was not without difficulties. "Finding people with knowledge of Business Warehouse was difficult. You have to have people who know your business, understand business logic, and know SAP and Business Warehouse. Only that way will [the project] go well," he said.
By combining SAP Portals with business intelligence, Swiss banking firm Zurich Financial Services was able to improve reporting procedures dramatically, said Karla Kuchel, the company's business intelligence project director.
"In our pilot, we have been able to reduce the time taken to compile reports by about a half. We have then been able to customise the reports so that they are presented in a way that is relevant to the specific user," she explained.
But Kuchel warned users that consultancy costs could be high. "We have needed a never ending supply of Business Warehouse patches, and have felt that we're forever testing them. Don't underestimate this cost," she said.
Despite this, Kuchel reported that the project had been very successful, and that the company's chief financial officer was keen for a global roll out.
SAP began shipping Business Warehouse 3.0 in December. "Our first customer to go live, Siemens, did so in less than six weeks. This demonstrates its ease of use," said Mark Allen, vice president of global marketing at SAP Portals.
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