Consolidation the trend in BPM software

With users looking to standardize by consolidating business applications through one business performance management (BPM) platform, BPM vendors are moving to integrate their offerings.

An extension of business intelligence (BI) software, BPM gives a more forward-looking view of the business, compared to a more static view with BI.

“The BI piece is more focused on where you are today and where you’ve been,” said John Haggerty, who follows the BPM space for Boston’s AMR Research. “Performance management is the full cycle of decision making, and not just a snapshot of where you are at any given point in time.”

Hyperion Solutions Corp., based in Santa Clara, Calif., is looking to address the consolidation trend with this month’s release of Hyperion System 9 (HS9). Hyperion’s director of product marketing, Don McTavish, said HS9 integrates a complete suite of financial management applications, and also integrates the company’s other Foundation Services applications.

The web-based user interface has been redesigned, providing a single point of entry to the BPM system. If a manager sees a problem, McTavish said that allows them to see who’s responsible and what can be done without switching to another application. “The idea is to start simplifying how organizations can get to all their operational systems, and allow managers to do whatever they need to do.”

Security has been improved with role-based access that ensures users only have access to the functions they need to do their jobs. McTavish said common user provisioning will make the system easier for IT to support, but what he said really sets HS9 apart is its new performance dashboard, as well as its financial and production reporting capabilities.

“IT doesn’t want to spend their time scratching out reports, this is self- service,” said McTavish.

Markham, Ont.’s Geac Computer Corp. is taking a similar focus with it’s BPM offering, Geac MPC, which is also focused on the finance side.

Brian Hartlen, Geac’s vice-president of global marketing, said their offering is one of the few complete suites on the market, integrating budgeting, planning, forecasting, statutory consolidation, reporting, and strategy management.

“That’s key, the ability to implement and execute strategies and track who is responsible for what and how you’re doing, and not just the financial implications of those,” said Hartlen. “We do it all on a single application, you can do the whole thing with ours.”

AMR Research’s Haggerty sees two categories of BPM players; the analytics and reporting companies like Cognos, Business Objects, SAS, and Hyperion, and application vendors that control data but add analytics, like SAP, Oracle and Siebel.

In the broad BPM space, Haggerty said he sees a push to standardize.

Haggerty said enterprises are looking to leverage their investment by standardizing on one layer for BI reporting and analytics.

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