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Glass half full; EPM reflections

For the last few years at the end of each year I’ve run a series on the CFOKnowledge social media channels called “EPM Reflections” in which I take a look at what’s driven the SAP solutions for EPM team that year. But this year I have decided to buck the trend a little, and instead of waiting for the cold of December to arrive, I thought I’d take a breath right now on this beautiful and sunny June day, and look back at a few of the many activities that have been the focus of the EPM team here at SAP these last few months.

SAP Cloud for Planning; Plan simpler!

We entered 2015 with the announcement of availability of SAP Cloud for Planning, which officially “hit the streets” in February. The whole EPM team is extremely proud of our latest solution, a SaaS planning and analysis application designed with the business user in mind and delivering a collaborative environment for business planning that draws on our many years’ experience in delivering industry-leading EPM solutions.

Since its launch, my colleagues in SAP have taken SAP Cloud for Planning on tour to many cities world-wide, so that customers have an opportunity to come and see this new and exciting evolution of our EPM solution suite. Interest in our new cloud offering is growing, with some great feedback from visitors to our tour, which is of course supported by a generally growing acceptance and adoption of cloud-technology for business use. This will surely play a dominant role in our focus for the second half of 2015 too.

Events, events, events!

Generally the first half of each calendar year is a hot-bed for event-related activities, with key events being SAPinsider Las Vegas in March, SAPPHIRENOW from Orlando in May and SAPinsider Nice in June. The most recent of these for the EPM team, SAPinsider Financials in Nice took place just a couple of weeks ago, and I can report that this was a fabulous event in a superb location. I mean, who wouldn’t want to attend a conference held on the Cote d’Azur in late spring? But of course attention was focused inwardly on the event rather than outside, and over three days attendees had the opportunity to hear from SAP, business partners and more importantly SAP’s customers about how technology is helping to transform their finance operations and business performance. I had the opportunity to sit in on a number of customer presentations, many of which I mentioned in my pre-event blog post, and I am pleased to say that it’s a delight to hear so many customers speak about their experience and their roles with such passion. I have to say a big “thank you” to all customers attending and presenting at the SAPinsider events this year, as well as “congratulations” to the organizers WIS for another great event.

And of course, don’t worry, if you missed an event early in 2015 then you’ll have more opportunities to attend later in the year as SAPinsider visits Singapore in September, and then later in the year we’ll be hosting our SAP Financial Planning, Consolidation and Controls conference in Las Vegas.

SAP Radio Game-Changers Financial Excellence Show!

This is a real gem of a show. If you haven’t listened to it yet then I can’t recommend it highly enough, as the quality and depth of discussions held in this weekly show is truly excellent. I’ve been fortunate to have been on the organizing team for the Financial Excellence radio show since its inception, and now in our fourth series I can say with assurance that the show has lost none of its appeal. Each series comprises 13 weekly hour-long shows and features a changing panel of experts who discuss technology impacts across many areas of finance and finance business process. With panelists joining from business analyst organizations, management consultancies, system integrators, research organizations, end-users as well as SAP, the discussions are often rich in detail and experience, always engaging and often thought-provoking. While radio may be “old tech” when compared with newer social media approaches (albeit delivered over the Internet), I for one love this radio show as it’s always topical and an extremely engaging way to learn something new from “people who know”. Take a listen to this week’s episode here, or if you want to listen to any of the shows from the back-catalogue then take a look at the list of prior shows which are all available for replay. And though we’re nearing the end of our current series we hope to be back for a fifth series again in the future – so keep that (IP) radio tuned in!

And so, those are my first few reflections on 2015 for the EPM team here at SAP. Certainly a glass half-full, if not more. No doubt I shall still return with more reflections in December – and if the second half of the year is as busy as the first then our glass won’t just be full, it’ll be over-spilling by that time!