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SAP ERP HCM Software Review and Analysis

 

SAP HCM Software Capabilities

HCM Analytics

Not surprisingly, given the size and resources that SAP has at its disposal, few payroll and HR software vendors can match the capabilities that the SAP ERP HCM software delivers in terms of business intelligence (BI). Specifically, BI and analytics are handled through a number of processes and functions within the SAP ERP HCM suite; most notably through SAP Business Objects. BI functionality includes:

  • SAP Crystal Reports—which allows connections among multiple data sources as well as the design/formatting of custom and interactive reports, and internal/external report communications.
  • SAP BusinessObjects Analysis—which (through the OLAP edition) allows multi-dimensional data analysis via an OLAP tool specifically designed for financial and business analysts. Further, the Microsoft edition of this solution allows for business warehouse data analysis via a user interface (UI) embedded in the Microsoft Office environment.
  • SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence—this BI software component allows for online and offline ad hoc queries across heterogeneous data sources.
  • SAP BusinessObjects Predictive Workbench—a BI solution which allows for data mining in order to assess and predict future workforce trends.
  • SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards—this BI software allows for the creation of dynamic and interactive dashboards for complex data visualization.
  • SAP BusinessObjects Explorer—which allows for targeted data searching and exploration for real-time analysis. Customers can also leverage the accelerated version of this business intelligence tool through SAP's in-memory analytics; a process that greatly speeds up "time to insight".

Business Objects also leverages a single platform (aptly named SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform) that uses a common semantic layer, security, and delivery mechanism for business insight delivery. Further, with SAP BusinessObjects Integration and SAP BusinessObjects Live Office, business intelligence can be linked to other enterprise applications and integrated with MS Office applications respectively. SAP ERP HCM software clearly stands apart from most HCM software competitors in terms of business intelligence.

HCM Mobility

The 2010 acquisition of Sybase continued the company's mantra to deliver information anywhere, anytime and on any device and also gave SAP deep mobile capabilities on multiple platforms including Windows Mobile, Android, iPhone, Blackberry and Nokia Series 60 smartphones.

SAP's mobile functionality is driven by the Sybase Unwired Platform (SUP) - a framework for developing mobile applications that SAP is uses as both a development platform and a device management system. SAP mobility, and Sybase Mobile Workflow, are inherit throughout the SAP Business Suite and support mobile workers to receive and manage SAP Universal Worklist notifications and alerts on their mobile device of choice; including pre-defined processes, such as requests and approvals for travel or leave. Additionally, clock-in/clock-out activities can be recorded directly into the SAP Business Suite system from the mobile device.

The SAP mobile business process solution pushes workflow items, including the associated workflow decision buttons for approval, to users on their mobile device and allows users to leverage the Universal Worklist Workflows, Alerts, and Notifications while away from the office. Normally, a user would need to be logged into SAP Business Suite to complete routine workflow items and receive notifications and alerts. This solution enables users to process decision-based workflow items and receive Universal Worklist notifications and alerts on their mobile device, increasing the accessibility of information and enabling location independence.

Social Technology

When it comes to social technologies, few enterprise software vendors have been as on board as SAP. In fact, according to Gartner research, "SAP was the first mega-vendor to deliver a stand-alone purpose-built CDM (Collaborative Decision Making) platform". The platform referenced is SAP's StreamWork, an online decision making tool that has the capability of finding, selecting, and arranging a given project's workforce so as to facilitate the best collaboration possible. From a functionality perspective, StreamWorks is essentially a virtual meeting space where workers engaged in a common task can communicate with each other. It allows workers to integrate data and analytics from other SAP software applications (like CRM and ERP) in order to collectively brainstorm ideas and make business decisions—keeping a detailed history of all interactions so management can easily review how a particular decision was made.

Incorporating a number of Facebook-like features (including the ability to start discussions, make comments, and run quick polls), StreamWork is a social solution built for an environment that has SAP at its core--integrating with SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand, Crystal Reports/Dashboards, and other SAP applications like CRM, Strategy, and Product Lifecycle. Currently available in three editions (basic, professional, and enterprise), the enterprise edition is obviously the most robust—running Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 operating system and including a virtual appliance installed behind the firewall for administrative controls. SAP's roadmap also indicates that further integrations (e.g. Business Objects Intelligence Platform, Collaborative E-Care Management and SAP NetWeaver Enterprise Workspaces, etc.) are planned for the future. Further, with the recent SuccessFactors acquisition, social technologies are expected to be extended to performance management and recruitment (though SAP does currently have some limited social recruiting capabilities).

International Support

SAP ERP HCM software currently supports multiple languages, multiple currencies, localized processes, and regulatory requirements for 48 countries. As such, country-specific solutions are available for organizations looking for a global HR and Payroll software solution. As it pertains to languages, SAP fully supports the following: Arabic, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Danish, German, English, Finnish, French, Dutch, Italian, Japanese, Catalan, Korean, Croatian, Norwegian (Bokmal), Norwegian (Nynorsk), Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Serbian, Slovakian, Slovenian, Spanish, and Czech.

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