SAP & CA Tag Team for GRC

SAP and CA connect their products for the GRC space. Companies with big IT or R&D shops should take note. Are project portfolio management solutions getting more tightly connected with ERP products?

It’s an interesting pairing. Two former competitors, each with their own ERP solutions (CA-Masterpiece and SAP R/3) battling for customers have now, with the passage of time, become allies in the GRC (governance, risk, compliance) front. CA, today, is a user of SAP’s ERP software.

The GRC offering these firms are announcing today brings CA’s Clarity PPM solution in touch with SAP’s ERP and Business Objects products. The result is a linked set of processes, controls, etc. that better integrate IT projects and activities with the GRC requirements facing many businesses today.

The best target customers for these two firms will likely be publicly traded firms (i.e., a global 5000 firm) with a large, potentially distributed IT function or a lot of new product development activity (i.e., R&D). The solution would help these companies identify out of scope activities, costs, etc., identify key performance metrics that fall outside expected norms, create and route exceptions to appropriate executives for approval or follow-up, etc.

Months ago, I wrote a review on a book CA had produced re: GRC. I have also done a several conference calls with them regarding their Clarity product line and the way it helps IT groups manage complex IT project portfolios. Their solution is well-suited for large IT shops and it is a high-end piece of project portfolio management (PPM) software. That same software can also be used to manage, prioritize and adjust a new product development portfolio, too. SAP is well-known for their ERP suite and utilizes a number of Business Object capabilities as part of its GRC solution. This announcement illustrates the marrying of two established product lines and should work out of the box.

The deal is also interesting as the PPM and ERP markets have largely remained separate markets or were more commonly joined at the PSA (professional services automation) functionality level. Yes, Oracle acquired Primavera (who had previously acquired Evolve) and NetSuite has bought both OpenAir and QuickArrow. The focus of most of these deals seems to have been cross-selling opportunities, especially to services firms. Deltek is a PPM vendor with ERP capabilities and has done well selling to government contractors. The concept of marrying PPM and ERP to solve GRC matters is a bit new to me.

Questions: Will BMC create a competitive offering? Will Planview seek a love connection with a major ERP player, too?