SAP unveils future of analytics: real-time, mobile, social

JohannesburgThe world of business is becoming increasingly global and marked by virtual organisations using mobile technology and social networks.

Organisations must be equipped to better assess and act decisively on huge volumes of data both from within and outside their businesses. In response to this transformation, SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) launched the 4.0 releases of business intelligence (BI) and enterprise information management (EIM) solutions from the SAP BusinessObjects portfolio, harnessing the advances of three years of software development.

The announcement was made during the SAP Run Better Tour, being held in New York City.

Unified on a common infrastructure, and with a user experience boasting the friendly usability of social networking tools, the new BI and EIM releases manifest the broad range of technology innovations that are shaping the future of analytics – in real-time, with in-memory computing; instant powerful BI in users’ hands, with more mobile devices supported than ever before; across business and social data with certainty, combining structured and unstructured information and providing the tools to govern the information; and providing the best fit, right now in any deployment model, whether on-premise, on-demand, embedded in business operations, or in a “hybrid” manner.

Africa stands at a significant inflection point in this new world; at the same time that demands for its natural resources are fuelled by a return to global growth, there is a desperate need to modernise private and public sector institutions to ensure that Africa is able to compete globally. SAP Africa prides itself on its ability to enable African transformation, which the launch of the SAP 4.0 releases will continue to aid.

Unified on a common infrastructure and with a user experience boasting the friendly usability of social networking tools, the new BI and EIM releases manifest the broad range of technology innovations that are shaping the future of analytics:

* In real-time, with in-memory computing;

* Instant powerful BI in users’ hands, with more mobile devices supported than ever before;

* Across business and social data with certainty;

* Combining structured and unstructured information;

* Providing the tools to manage and govern the information; and

* Providing the best fit, right now in any deployment model, whether on-premise, on-demand, embedded in business operations, or in a “hybrid” manner.

“Historically, companies have dealt with BI on a project-by-project basis, separate from each other and from their EIM initiatives, lacking the ability to bring that data together,” said Carl W Olofson, research vice-president, Application Development and Deployment, IDC.

“The latest BI and EIM solutions from SAP are designed to help tackle big data, integrating structured and unstructured data and even information from social networks. New capabilities for event insight and information stewardship bring the benefits of data trustworthiness and process timeliness to customers. All of these components should provide the basis for an information environment that is nimble and responsive – one that fosters a culture of knowing, helping every person in the organisation derive context and meaning, decide and act with confidence, and contribute to greater efficiency and profitability.”

Today, CN, one of the most efficient and profitable railroads in North America, is using SAP BusinessObjects software to improve productivity.

“The industry-leading BI foundation we have with SAP BusinessObjects software has helped to drive CN’s efficiency and service improvements,” said Alan Capes, director, IT Business Development and Strategic Planning, CN.

“On top of this foundation we will add complex event processing (CEP) capabilities such as SAP BusinessObjects Event Insight to help us move from the mindset of ‘what happened yesterday?’ to ‘what is happening today?’ Because we have millions of assets – many of them in motion – across North America, we need CEP capabilities to integrate real-time asset telemetry and operational systems with robust analytics in an intuitive, map-based user interface.”

Simon Carpenter, Director of Strategic Initiatives at SAP, adds:“In order for African governments and businesses to attract investment and keep talent, they have to overcome the enduring poor perceptions around good governance, compliance and transparency. To do this they must be able to operate off a previously elusive single version of the truth and to empower all stakeholders to analyse and present this information in many different ways to different audiences. This new release of SAP BusinessObjects software is a huge leap forward in this regard and the most significant BI launch ever within the IT industry.

Unified infrastructure offers new features, heralds new class of analytics

The 4.0 releases help further reduce IT landscape complexity and speed deployment times by further integrating the BI and EIM environments into a single infrastructure.

In addition, the consistent user experience and enhanced visualisation supports end-user requirements in an easy-to-use, self-service fashion all enabled with new versions of SAP Crystal solutions such as SAP Crystal Reports software, as well as other BI software such as SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards and SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence, in addition to the SAP StreamWork application. The 4.0 releases also provide easy integration with enterprise performance management (EPM) and governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) solutions from SAP to allow seamless visibility of performance and risk in business analytic scenarios.

New features of the 4.0 releases of BI and EIM solutions include:

* Real-time in-memory computing – Optimisation for use on SAP High-Performance Analytic Appliance (SAP HANA) software makes “business in the moment” possible by enabling customers to harness “big data” with the power of in-memory computing. Lightning-fast on massively high volumes of data, the in-memory appliance gives life to a new class of analytics that instantly transforms massive and complex data volumes into easy-to-act-on insights. To learn more about how real-time analytics is delivering value for construction company Hilti, see “Cutting-Edge Real-Time Analytics at Hilti”.

* Easy, mobile BI on any device – Across mobile platforms and devices, workers can access intuitive, real-time BI and respond instantly to events as they unfold. New interactive visualisations and user experience enhancements make it easier for users, whenever and wherever they work. The 4.0 releases also capitalise on SAP’s acquisition of Sybase, and will use the Sybase Unwired Platform to offer a comprehensive mobile BI suite that taps rich content from SAP and non-SAP business applications.

* Business and social data with confidence – Deeper text analysis integration complements traditional business insight with the thoughts and sentiment that people express in social media streams, blogs and e-mail. People can now monitor, analyse, explore, report and act with confidence in the accuracy of not only their transactional data but also with full insight into the trends and sentiments expressed in unstructured content of blogs, e-mail and social media streams. A new multi-source, multi-dimensional semantic layer and a new common authoring experience simplify ad-hoc analyses and content creation, providing users with faster time to a more holistic meaning.

Key elements of the 4.0 releases include the following software:

* SAP BusinessObjects Data Services software, which helps consolidate any data source, assess the quality, profile and enhance it, then integrate the improved data into any BI or application environment. It is also optimised for operational data integration scenarios like data-migration, data-synchronisation and data-hubs.

* SAP BusinessObjects Information Steward, new software that gives end users the power to analyse, monitor and rate their data sources for completeness, accuracy and consistency, and to share key performance indicator (KPI) scorecards.

* SAP BusinessObjects Event Insight, new software that helps people understand the impact of business events – for example financial market fluctuations and network traffic patterns – as they happen throughout an entire business network, putting complex scenarios and large data volumes into actionable context with historical trends to predict future outcomes.

* SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence, a platform for providing people with easy, self-service access to trusted information in a flexible way.

* The best fit, right now – With flexible deployment options that leverage the latest 64-bit advances, virtualisation and cloud methods, and provide intuitive system monitoring, alerting and auditing, the 4.0 releases help easily scale to serve all departments, thus reducing total cost of ownership (TCO). Insight can be delivered to workers within their business operations through BI that is embedded within SAP Business Suite software and available via 26 industry- and line-of-business-specific SAP BusinessObjects analytic applications. These releases illustrate SAP’s vision to bring customers elegant, fast and easy-to-consume business software that enables SAP to drive toward its goal of reaching one billion people. With these releases, SAP is combining best-in-class analytics for all sources with the best-in-class SAP business applications.

“Since Business Objects became part of the SAP family, we have been working together on the 4.0 releases of BI and EIM solutions from SAP,” said Dr Vishal Sikka, executive board member, Technology and Innovation, SAP AG.

“This product is a perfect example of what the combination of these two companies has been about. By combining the beauty and the consistency – bringing in the beautiful user experience for which SAP BusinessObjects software was always famous, the elegant simplicity together with the strength of SAP software, integrated identity management, SAP NetWeaver Application Server and integrated life cycle management – we have wonderful products to share with our customers. And now with SAP HANA, we also bring the ability to analyse massive amounts of data in real-time. The feedback from early customers has been tremendous.”

Ecosystem of expertise in next-generation analytics

SAP is working closely with partners including Accenture, Atos Origin, Capgemini, cundus AG, Deloitte, HP, Logica, Siemens IT Solutions and Services and Teradata to extend the power of business analytics to more organisations across different industries and lines of business.

With access to special training and knowledge tools, participating partners of the SAP Ramp-Up program for the 4.0 releases can offer their customers smooth implementations and upgrades.

To preview the comprehensive set of business analytics solutions developed by SAP and partners, visit Business Analytics at SAP EcoHub. Read more about what partners, customers and industry analysts are saying in the following blog post from Steve Lucas, general manager of Business Analytics for SAP: “4.0 Releases of BI and EIM Solutions Feature Greater Integration.”

For a closer look at the 4.0 releases of BI and EIM solutions, visit the Business Analytics Newsroom. Participate in the conversation on Twitter by using the #BI4 and #SAPRBT hashtags, and follow SAP BusinessObjects at @businessobjects.


As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP (NYSE: SAP) helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device – SAP empowers people and organisations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. SAP applications and services enable more than 109 000 customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably. For more information, visit www.sap.com.

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