At the 2011 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference, I had the chance to talk with Holly Simmons, senior director of marketing, SAP BusinessObjects OnDemand, about the upcoming integration with SAP StreamWork with Feature Pack 3 for SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 (more to come on Feature Pack 3 soon).
Although you might not be aware, SAP’s online collaboration tool is already integrated with a number of applications, including CRM (market planning), product lifecycle management (PLM) and strategy management (to capture the up-front planning process among a team). In addition, in Feature Pack 3, open APIs allow companies to develop more integration if they want – for example, to create templates for commonly used documents.
With the upcoming BI integration, users will be able to send documents directly between SAP StreamWork and the BI LaunchPad. For instance, a team leader can send a report on how certain tee shirt colors are doing in the market and solicit feedback from the team about which colors should stay – without leaving the BI application.
“It allows more people to participate in the collaboration,” said Simmons. “StreamWork captures the BI social structure.”
Role-based access helps users keep documents secure – for example, users can opt to allow anyone to invite others to share the documents or set it so only the users can initiate sharing. SAP has partnered with Novel to provide the security component of StreamWork. “It’s the second thing people usually ask about StreamWork, after asking what it does,” said Simmons.
According to Simmons, a good use case for using StreamWork is in sales and operations planning. Companies can invite vendors (outside of the company) to view documents as needed to help shorten the decision-making process. StreamWork keeps a record of comments and correspondence to refer to later if needed,
Other use cases Simmons described included consultancies sharing documents with clients and non-profits managing volunteer activity and events. In fact, Simmons noted that SAP itself used StreamWork to keep track of the merger and acquisitions activities with the Sybase acquisition.
“SAP is looking at collaboration differently,” explained Simmons. “StreamWork becomes the foundation across silos.”
Simmons also gave me a sneak peek at the upcoming iPad and iPhone apps for StreamWork, which lets users to manage feeds and activities on the go. Speaking of future updates to StreamWork, Simmons mention that it’s a bit of a “cluttered roadmap.” Upcoming SAP integration applications include SAP ERP HCM — for employee on boarding and skill matrixes — and SAP NetWeaver Business Process Management (BPM) — for creating “gravity” maps that can be imported directly from StreamWork in to BPM.
“[StreamWork is the] social foundation for everything we do,” said Simmons.