We recently asked veteran SAP guru Axel Angeli for his predictions of the major SAP trends in 2007. Now it’s time to turn our attention to Mark Smith, CEO at Ventana Research, for his take on the matter.
SearchSAP: What’s the biggest SAP trend for 2007?
Smith: The biggest trend is that SAP is moving to advance its use of Analytics and will evolve into offering its Customer Performance Management functionality across finance and operations management. These new advancements in applications and capabilities will become essential for SAP to maintain relevance with senior executives but to also help customers derive more value from existing investments. With a foundation year of new applications in Analytics and now an investment and focus in Performance Management, SAP is recognizing the importance of supporting not just the business processes but the management processes that can deliver improved results and effectiveness of organizations.
SearchSAP: Do you see any additional developments to keep an eye on?
Smith: SAP is moving to drive more value in its applications through significant advancements in the process and event drive architecture of SAP NetWeaver. The movement from transaction-centric architecture and systems to event-driven can help organizations move toward more automated and intelligent applications that improve the value and supply chains of industries. Integrated inter-enterprise processes are part of the next decade of innovations in ERP and CRM application suites and are essential to fulfilling the vision and promise of enterprise services architecture from SAP.
SearchSAP: What do you expect from SAP’s ERP competitors?
Smith: SAP’s key competition in ERP is Oracle, Infor and Microsoft at one level of mega application providers and then down to Epicor and Lawson. Each of these providers is working to maintain its existing customer base through new versions of its applications and new underlying application platform and capabilities. The places of significant new growth are in analytics and Business Intelligence and the underlying integration of these applications with information management needs of organizations. These application companies are continuing to build, buy and partner to expand these capabilities to stay competitive with SAP. In addition, the focus on Performance Management and new classes of applications for finance and operations is now advancing from many of SAP’s large and small ERP competitors providing engines of growth and value for existing and new customers.
Stay tuned for more expert insights of what 2007 has in store for the SAP world! Also, be sure to take Ventana’s latest survey on how to get the best metrics from SAP — there’s a Starbucks gift certificate in it for you, plus a chance to win an iPod nano.