Enabling managers and executives to make better-informed business decisions is the software industry's next step. To that end, both SAP AG and arch-rival Oracle Corp. unveiled products designed to help managers make decisions to improve operations and performance.
SAP's new Strategic Enterprise Management (SEM) system promises "to help managers make decisions. . . by providing the right information at the right time." Using the R/3 system as its foundation, SEM offers four new components: business planning and simulation; consolidation and sourcing; corporate performance monitor; and stakeholder relationship management.
SAP's announcement came on the heels of Oracle's introduction of the Business Intelligence System (BIS), an intranet-based application the company says provides "fast answers to the tough questions facing business managers and executives as they run their organizations." Consisting of a set of performance indicators that address fundamental business issues, the BIS can be used to quickly generate meaningful reports, analyze performance, and make better-informed business decisions.
The Oracle software, part of the Oracle Applications Release 11, helps managers deal more effectively with issues such as capacity utilization, procurement, expense control, cash forecasting, marketing campaign efficiency, and training-program effectiveness. "Effective management requires more than knowing a single piece of information or having a series of disconnected data points," according to Ron Wohl, senior vice president of application development at Oracle, based in Redwood Shores, Calif. "But that's what traditional business applications have provided. We're changing the model to help managers understand why a given situation exists and how to most appropriately respond."