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9 Sep 2013

County Will Rip and Replace Ailing SAP System

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Accenture and SAP exploit HANA to deliver simpler data processing contracts

As new business intelligence ( BI ), tax, disclosure and strategy management capabilities become enmeshed in CPM and bring its purpose closer to the term's true meaning, Park advised buyers to approach CPM system purchases with an eye toward differentiating features and ease of use. BI and cloud rising in importance for CPM Because CPM systems were built for finance users, its capabilities have typically been relegated to core finance functions such as budgeting, planning and forecasting , financial reporting and consolidation , and cost management. However, Park said business leaders have been requesting more visibility into financials over the past few years, so many CPM vendors have added BI capabilities -- a trend that he predicts will accelerate over time. "There's been increased end-user demand for overall performance management ability -- [for] corporate performance as a phrase to be defined correctly rather than talking about it simply from a financial perspective," Park said. "So it's not just [about] understanding finance, but also head count, revenue [and] the various contributions that each product or effort provides to company performance. Because of that, companies now need to be able to see the numbers more easily, so we're seeing a trend of BI coming into traditional CPM." The impact that cloud-based technology is having on the CPM systems market is reflected by Software as a Service ( SaaS ) vendor Adaptive Planning's placement in the leader's quadrant. While Park said he was surprised by this positioning for a native cloud vendor, he explained that the matrix methodology factored in ease of use as well as ease of deployment, which boosted Adaptive Planning's overall score. He also said the vendor's acquisition of BI vendor myDials in 2012 has enhanced the platform's reporting and analytics . "Adaptive Planning is still a relatively small company, [and] in terms of pure market share they have a long way to go before they approach IBM, SAP and Oracle," Park said. "But as a solution that competes in the enterprise space and is proven to scale to thousands of users, I think we're going to increasingly see it and [other] cloud-based solutions come in, especially for core planning, but also for larger CPM projects." In terms of finance executives' level of comfort about putting financial information in the cloud, Park said some of his interview subjects -- typically from small and midmarket organizations -- were embracing cloud-based financials, but others remained staunchly opposed . Oracle trailing IBM and SAP in modern CPM adoption Although the report notes that Oracle is still considered by vendors and users to be the predominant leader in the CPM systems market, adoption challenges caused it to rank below IBM and SAP, respectively. "Oracle has functionality in all of the key areas of both traditional and modern CPM, especially with the integration of OBIEE [Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition] with Financial Management and ability to run Oracle Hyperion on Exalytics for in-memory performance ," the report stated.
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Adelaide City Council pilots Office 365, Yammer The first new offering from the partners is the Marketing Performance Solution, which is sold by Accenture and which enables chief marketing officers (CMOs) to easily view and act on centralised key marketing performance data, such as sales figures, media spend and social reach "in near real-time", said Accenture. Mark Willford, Accenture senior managing director for technology ecosystems, said: "Our new solutions are expected to provide ultimate flexibility for enterprises. They will have access to leading industry applications running on SAP HANA with all software and hardware components under a single contract. "We believe this is a unique offering in the SAP ecosystem that answers our clients' growing demand for simplification." The Marketing Performance Solution exploits analytics technology from both SAP HANA and Accenture. CMOs and marketing teams can access data from multiple internal and external sources, and quickly respond to shifting market demand and manage the ROI of marketing spend. Tracking results of marketing campaigns, running simulations and promotions and making adjustments is enabled through a web-based user interface accessible from PCs and mobile devices. Robert Enslin, SAP president of global customer operations, said: "This new level of collaboration is designed to offer unique solution packages and simplify the contract process so our joint clients can get up and running even faster." The new CMO solution will initially be targeted at CMOs of retail and consumer packaged goods companies, who must address the complexity of changing consumer preferences, channel proliferation, and fragmented agency relationships. Accenture plans to launch additional functional solutions for other vertical industries.
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Half of SAP users 'dissatisfied' with system performance

Marin County tells a different story. The SAP implementation dates to 2006, but today only 50 percent of the functionality is in place and working properly, according to a county report. "In order to make it happen with SAP, we would need to re-architect it, redesign it, and that would be quite expensive," said David Hill, director of the county's information services and technology department, during a meeting of the Marin County Board of Supervisors, which was webcast. Most county department heads "agree there's a compelling reason to move off SAP or improve it, but not to stay where we were," he added. A chart in the Marin County report details what various solutions to the problem would cost over a 10-year period. Maintaining the system at "status quo" would tally up US$34.7 million; fixing it and also "supporting continual improvement" by hiring more workers would cost $49.8 million; and merely fixing problems and running the system would ring up a $34.1 million bill. In contrast, starting over with a new product would cost just $26.2 million over the same 10-year period, according to the report. No particular software package is currently in mind for the replacement, according to Hill. There is little need to hurry, suggested board member Susan Adams. "The technology is changing," she said. "I think this is a good opportunity to shake out the sheets and see what's available." SAP "strongly believes in the value and performance of its software in use in Marin County," said spokesman Andy Kendzie.
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Internet-facing SAP systems suffering increased attacks

June 18, 2013 Internet-facing SAP systems suffering increased attacks Security researcher Alexander Polyakov finds thousands of unpatched, insecure SAP servers scattered all over the world Print | Hundreds of organizations around the world are running unpatched, Internet-facing versions of SAP software, exposing them to data theft, APTs (advanced persistent threats) , and other unpleasantness, according to security analyst Alexander Polyakov, CTO of ERPScan and founder of ZeroNights. Polyakov also said that SAP exploits are part of a thriving underground trade, particularly as organizations in Asian countries are exposing their systems with new SAP deployments. "You need to do your HR and financials with SAP, so [if it is hacked] it is kind of the end of the business," Polyakov said at a presentation at RSA Conference Asia Pacific 2013, attended by SC Magazine's Darren Pauli . "If someone gets access to the SAP, they can steal HR data, financial data, or corporate secrets ... or get access to a SCADA system." Vulnerabilities in SAP software, combined with the value of the data SAP systems utilize, have yielded increased attention from security researchers, per Polyakov: Nearly 60 percent of vulnerabilities found in 2013 were turned up by outsiders. The fact that SAP users are willing to open up interface to the Internet, whether for remote employees, connecting to remote offices, or remote management, increases the risks. In his research, Polyakov found more than 4,000 servers hosting publicly facing SAP applications, 700 through Google and 3,471 via Shodan. He found that 35 percent of exposed SAP systems were running NetWeaver version 7 EHP 0, which hasn't been updated since November 2005. Another 23 percent of the SAP code he found was last updated in April 2010; 19 percent of the installations hadn't been patched since October 2008. Polyakov found a comparable percentage of instances of SAP NetWeaver J2EE containing security holes through which attackers can create user accounts, assign roles, execute commands, and wreak other forms of havoc. He also determined that one in 40 organizations was vulnerable to remote exploits via SAP Management Console, while one in 120 organizations was susceptible via vulnerable HostControl, which allows for command injection. One in 20 organizations had a version of the SAP Dispatcher service for client-server communications containing default accounts that could be used to fully compromise SAP systems.
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SAP-IBM Payroll System Woes Fouled up Nurses' Pay

user avatar The problems cropped up since the Victorian Order of Nurses, Canada's largest nonprofit home and community care organization, turned on the SAP system in January, said Janet Hazelton, president of the Nova Scotia Nurses Union. While many nurses have been shortchanged in their paychecks, others have received double the pay coming to them, she said. But such massive deviations aren't her biggest worry. "My concern is with the nurses that got $100 more," Hazelton said. "They may not have noticed it. Our pay is never the same. Nursing paychecks can go up and down by as much as $400 or $500. If it's a direct deposit into your account, you may not even notice. Or some might get short-changed, and never realize it." VON has tried to fix the problems "as well as they can," and has "thrown a significant amount of manpower trying to fix this problem," Hazelton said. "They are absolutely as frustrated as we are. They're trying. But they purchased something, expected it to work, and it's not working." The organization "must have been given assurances" that the system would work properly, Hazelton said.
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DHS eyes SAP for AU$102m child support system overhaul

Organisations said this presented serious potential financial risk to their businesses, according to a survey commissioned by testing and performance management vendor Compuware and conducted by PAC Consulting. Interviews with senior managers at 588 companies in the UK, US, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain, found forty four percent were also not satisfied with response times on the SAP web portal. SAP users demand pricing and licence clarity Figures differed slightly between large and small businesses for web portal response times. Among large companies with over 2,000 users, a third were not satisfied with response times compared with 48 percent in smaller firms. The survey was not simply measuring satiasfaction with the SAP applications, however. There are a range of issues that can have an adverse affect on SAP performance, analysts said, including the age of the deployment not detailed in the survey and the technology infrastructure on which it runs. With SAP drawing on so much other software as well as network and server infrastructure, problems in other areas can have a significant negative impact. The Compuware study states: SAP software can only do the job it is designed for if the overall IT infrastructure is stable and reliable. In order to ensure that SAP technology runs effectively, everything from computing platforms to database and network connections must be running with maximum efficiency. Businesses running SAP often use the system as the backbone of their operations, and expressed serious concerns over the potential financial risks of SAP technical issues.
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Oracle falls below IBM and SAP in CPM systems matrix

As ZDNet reported in May's Federal Budget coverage , the government allocated AU$102.2 million over the next five years to replace the legacy IT support system, which has been in place since 2002. The current system, named after the goddess of children in Roman mythology, is used by over 3,000 staff members every month, affecting 1.5 million members of the public who are either paying or receiving child support, with over 1 billion transactions going through the system every year. It has 650 screens and windows supported by 1,000 mainframe-based servers, consisting of 7,500 code modules with a database of 350 tables with close to 7,500 data access points. A spokesperson for the department told ZDNet that the Cuba application was built in-house using the CA-Gen development platform, supported by a range of other technologies that enabled the system to interact with departmental software. Initial high-level design was provided by Unisys in 2002, and the application has been maintained in-house since then. In tender documents published on Thursday , the department indicated that it is looking for a solution that would replace Cuba with an SAP commercial off-the-shelf product, with accelerated SAP methodology to be employed. The company that wins the tender will need to develop the new system, migrate the child support database to the new platform and validate the data, decommission the existing Cuba system, and archive the data and ensure the new system integrates into the department's communications network. The department is looking to have the new system deployed by mid-2016, with the existing Cuba system decommissioned by the end of 2016. Although the initial contract period is set out over five years, the department said in the tender documents that it is looking to shorten the time frame for the implementation of the new system to three years. The tender is open to expressions of interest until August 12, 2013.
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