SAP's Business Objects unit is betting that business intelligence (BI), governance, risk, compliance and enterprise performance management (EPM) tools will converge and has released the products that it hopes will deliver on that convergence

A new EPM offering called SAP Spend Analytics collects and analyzes procurement-related data from various sources, enabling users to monitor compliance and look for ways to save money.

"Setting up [business] strategy and cascading it, that's EPM, understanding risk, that's GRC (governance, risk and compliance), and analysis of what works, that is BI," said Jonathan Becher, senior vice president of marketing for Business Objects.

The company also announced new versions of Profitability and Cost Management, which examines costs on a granular level; and Financial Consolidation, for rolling up global financials.

In addition, SAP announced a new services programme, in conjunction with partners, to help businesses prepare an ERM (enterprise risk management) strategy. The credit rating firm Standard & Poor's recently said it would begin weighing ERM in its ratings of non-financial companies.

However. core work remains for Business Objects and SAP, noted Forrester Research analyst Boris Evelson. Earlier this year, Business Objects unified its tools under one platform. But the company has not yet achieved a deep level of integration between the products, such as the ability to migrate a report developed in Web Intelligence to Crystal Reports, Evelson said.

"There are use cases we are looking at supporting -- some are working today: Dashboard Builder, for example, lets you lasso Crystal Reports content and drag and drop it into a dashboard, you can add Xcelsius components and even Web Intelligence docs," said Franz Aman, vice president of BI platform marketing. "Going forward we are looking at things like moving a web Intelligence query into Voyager for slicing and dicing, work sets from Polestar into [web Intelligence] for someone else other then the casual information user to then create scheduled reports for publishing, et cetera."

"We will however not be doing everything possible, but what makes sense from a user persona and use-case perspective," he added.