SAP to detail 'five-pillar' analytics strategy

The new marketing push comes alongside the arrival of a new feature pack for SAP's BusinessObjects software

SAP is planning to organize its analytics and BI (business intelligence) product strategy around five "pillars," or subject areas, spanning from essential platform technology to social collaboration, the company announced Tuesday.

Other pillars include "creative" technologies, or ones that provide self-service features for individual users; support for mobile analytics; and "extreme" technologies such as predictive analytics, SAP said in a statement.

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, in an interview prior to Tuesday's announcement.

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.

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 visualizations 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 US$50.7 billion by 2016, experiencing a compound annual growth rate of 9.8 percent.

The coming years will see analytics vendors push specialized 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.

SAP executives are expected to discuss the company's analytics strategy further during a Web event later Tuesday.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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