SAP AG, the dominant enterprise software and services provider, is known for a lot of things, but being an innovator in the market for governance and risk management solutions isn't one of them. Instead, a short list of such vendors would be crowded with a dozen (or more) smaller, best-of-breed specialists such as OpenPages, Paisley and Axentis, to name a few. That's an image that SAP executives are trying to change, one partnership or acquisition at a time.

Last month, the company made a series of announcements to stake its claim in the so-called governance, risk and compliance (GRC) solution space. Three new products will be offered later this year–a compliance repository, a process control and a risk management solution–that together will form the platform for enterprise-wide GRC integration. SAP also announced a new strategic partnership with another tech heavyweight, Cisco Systems–a convenient way for the two companies to cozy up to each other's customers, with the technological goal of establishing greater cooperation so that Cisco's IT infrastructure products work seamlessly with SAP's operational and compliance-based tools.

The new solutions build upon SAP's acquisition earlier this year of Virsa Systems, a leader in the continuous controls monitoring space, for real-time monitoring and enforce- ment of business controls. They indicate a move toward more high-end analytic tools that can better draw on the information chugging through a company's ERP systems. "This is a real push to elevate the caliber of SAP pro- ducts at the management level, rather than from a transaction-only level," says John Hagerty, vice president and research fellow at AMR Research in Boston. "It's a real step up to try to capture another segment of the market. What they have is a great blueprint and products to deliver over the next six to nine months."

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