SAP adopts five-point BI strategy

SAP will separate its analytics and BI (business intelligence) product strategy into five subject areas,

The five subject areas include:

 - Essential platform technology
 - Social collaboration
 - Creative technologies that provide self-service features for individual users;
 - Support for mobile analytics
 - Extreme" technologies such as predictive analytics

Feature pack 3 for the 4.0 version of its Business Objects BI suite, and a new version of SAP's Visual Intelligence tool, both of which are now generally available, include capabilities that touch all five areas, SAP said.

The feature pack contains new support for analytics on iPhones and Android devices, as well as support for the open source Hadoop framework for large-scale data processing, said Jason Rose, vice president of solution marketing, business intelligence.

SAP now supports the HiveQL query language for Hadoop as part of the BI suite's Information Design tool, which is used to create "universes," semantic layers that map to different data sources for querying.

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"In addition, SAP's Crystal Reports software can go directly against the Hadoop layer," Rose said.

Version 1.0.1 of Visual Intelligence, a product first announced in May, adds the ability to load data from Microsoft Excel and CSV files and an integration with StreamWork. Visual Intelligence initially supported data held in SAP's HANA in-memory database.

Essentially a branch of the Business Objects Explorer tool, Visual Intelligence runs on the desktop and is meant to give business users a way to easily probe data and create visualisations on their own.

SAP's five-pillar marketing push suggests it wants to position itself as a virtual one-stop shop for enterprises, who kept spending money on such products even through the recession. Recent research from IDC predicted that the analytics market will hit $50.7 billion by 2016, experiencing a compound annual growth rate of 9.8 per cent.

The coming years will see analytics vendors push specialised applications aimed at a particular industry or business process, according to IDC. SAP is pursuing this strategy as well with a series of products built to run on top of HANA.