SAP Acquires Pilot Software
SAP expanded its analytic capabilities with the acquisition of Pilot Software yesterday, a privately held provider of strategy management software. SAP plans to integrate Pilot's flagship product, PilotWorks, into its NetWeaver platform-based suite of business software products, according to the company. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but SAP did say that Pilot employees would become part of the SAP Labs network.
The PilotWorks platform aims to bring discipline to operational performance review processes, popular in industries like manufacturing, that provide weekly, monthly, or quarterly status updates on various business operations. It allows executives to manage goals and initiatives more effectively and bring structure and consistency. The integration of PilotWorks into SAP NetWeaver will allow managers to use PilotWorks in support of performance management goals, according to SAP. "Analytics applications that help organizations manage their performance effectively represent a strategic area of investment for SAP as we continue to expand our leadership in this market," said Doug Merritt, executive vice president and general manager of suite optimization at SAP, in a written statement. "With the acquisition of Pilot Software, we are providing an advanced system for defining and managing strategies that integrate with the business processes of information workers."
By making the functionality available from within SAP applications, SAP is acting on its promise to embed analytics, which was kicked off with its composite application analytics dashboards. The Pilot acquisition aims to ensure that strategies coded in SAP's analytic applications can be executed through tighter integration with CRM, ERP, and supply chain management applications, according to the company.
Henning Kagermann, SAP CEO, said during a press conference that the company would continue to make "fill-in" acquisitions in areas where it needed to "generate innovative add-on products around core products." Kagermann added that "Analytics capabilities are part of the end-to-end business process," and referred to embedded analytics as "the future."
John Hagerty, vice president and research fellow at AMR Research, says that the PilotWorks briefing-book metaphor "is quite appropriate for monthly and quarterly operational review meetings. It will surely find a place in SAP's panoply of analytic products."
While it has been low profile until recently, Pilot's products look "very promising" and "fit well into SAP's articulated vision," Hagerty says. "Pilot's embedded OLAP engine may eventually find a role in SAP's emerging arsenal of BI/performance management capabilities. The acquisition, while not high profile, is a type of tuck-in purchase we'll probably see a lot more of in the future."
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