SAP has addressed a major gap in its business planning performance management offerings with the acquisition of Outlooksoft today. The internally-developed SAP offerings known as SEM had seen limited traction among its customer base do to usability and complexity issues. SAP has been vulnerable to competitors (e.g., Hyperion, Cognos), particularly in the planning and budgeting domain.

Outlooksoft’s offering, by contrast, features a native Excel UI that appeals to finance and business users, and has integrated capabilities for planning, financial consolidations, and business performance analytics. It has seen good traction as a best-of-breed offering, with a base of approximately 700 customers. Its newest release (5.0) incorporates SOA and Web 2.0 technologies, making it compatible with SAP’s technology directions. Also, Outlooksoft has begun to move away from its sole dependency on the Microsoft BI platform.

Time was of the essence for SAP to make a move in the $1 billion business performance solutions (BPS) space. Just within the past month, Oracle’s closed its acquisition of Hyperion and Business Objects’ bought Cartesis. Also, Microsoft has been gearing up its launch of enterprise-class BPS product, PerformancePoint Server.

The Outlooksoft acquisition puts SAP back in the game with a proven planning and budgeting offering that complements its new strategy management solution (the recently acquired Pilot Software) as well as its core financial management applications and analytics platform.

Related Forrester research:

Business Performance Solutions: The Competition Heats Up

by Paul Hamerman, February 7, 2007

Forrester Research

Paul Hamerman

Vice President, Enterprise Applications