SAP Bolsters BI With Pilot Software Buy

SAP has acquired business intelligence (BI) vendor Pilot Software for an undisclosed sum.

The newly acquired functionality will sit on top of the NetWeaver platform, thus allowing SAP customers to integrate their applications into it, Sanjay Poonen, senior vice president and general manager of analytics for SAP, told CRM Buyer.

Pilot Software will enhance SAP’s existing business intelligence features, he noted.

“This is a BI application for strategy management,” Poonen stated. “It is designed for C-level executives such as CFOs, COOs or heads of sales.”

Pilot Software was founded in 2002. Currently, it has more than 150 customers worldwide. Its flagship product, PilotWorks, helps users execute on corporate strategies through a mix of metrics and workflows centered on goals and initiatives.

Goals and Metrics

For example, Pilot could help in a C-level executive’s strategy to increase revenue, Poonen said. The application would lead the user through the relevant points in the corporation, such as budgeting or product development, to ensure the goal is implemented properly and uniformly.

“This application brings a lot of order to the process,” he commented. “People can refer to one system of record and the metrics are in one place.”

“With the acquisition of Pilot Software, we are providing an advanced system for defining and managing strategies that is integrated with the business processes of information workers,” said Doug Merritt, executive vice president and general manager of suite optimization for SAP.

Actionable Data

The acquisition was a good move for SAP, which needs to strengthen its capabilities in the BI area, Yankee Group analyst Sheryl Kingstone told CRM Buyer. “It does not necessarily have expertise in this space.”

Also, customers increasingly are expecting their vendors to provide built-in analytical capabilities for their backbone applications, she added.

“Business are expecting to be able to make decisions using dashboards, using data that is culled by BI,” Kingstone said. “Businesses are demanding that they can get sophisticated insight out of the operational systems. That is where this acquisition will be able to help SAP.”

Filling in the Blanks

Poonen said the application will be available in a few months — by the end of the first quarter or early in the second quarter. The acquisition is a “tuck-in” or “fill-in” deal for SAP — a one-off purchase to fill in needed niche functionality with relative ease, he noted.

“We are finding innovative products to fill in our ‘white space’ in order to leapfrog over the competition,” Poonen concluded. “This is not a disruptive acquisition for our clients at all.”

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