SAP launches real time business analytics suite

In a sign of SAPs stepped up attention to the business analytics market, the company released a set of real time analytics products on Tuesday that are customised for use in various industry sectors and business functions.

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In a sign of SAP's stepped up attention to the business analytics market, the company released a set of real time analytics products on Tuesday that are customised for use in various industry sectors and business functions. The products are based on technologies from the company's 2007 purchase of Business Objects and include new tools designed to let enterprises enable mobile access to business intelligence (BI) applications.

The initial set of products in SAP's new BusinessObjects analytics application family have been customised for companies in the healthcare, consumer products, public sector, financial services, retail and telecommunication sectors. SAP's new applications are designed to deliver real time analytics capabilities for line of business functions, such as finance, sales, marketing, planning, risk assessment and customer satisfaction, at companies within these vertical segments.

The products were developed in collaboration with major SAP customers and are designed to work with structured or unstructured data from any SAP or non-SAP systems. Driving the company's efforts in the real time analytics market is the growing demand from enterprises for better decision support tools, SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott said.

Accroding to McDermott, companies are increasingly looking for tools that can help them access, analyse and use real time data to drive improved efficiencies across their sales, customer service, marketing and other business functions. A growing number of companies are looking to push such functionality out to front line employees to give them the insight and the context they need to make better decisions, he said.

The new products build on SAP's strategy to deliver packaged business analytics applications for specific industry segments, said Mark Smith, an analyst with Ventana Research. Competitively, they are an important step for SAP because it positions the company better with large rivals such as IBM and Oracle, which have also embarked on a path to deliver packaged line of business applications for specific vertical industries, he said.

One significant differentiator though could be SAPs growing focus on enabling mobile access to business analytics applications, Smith said. "SAP has been pushing hard to provide mobile access," he said. "It's something that is becoming very important for businesses."

Because SAP's newly released applications are standalone products that can operate in both SAP and non-SAP environments, the company's commitment to heterogeneous environments is driven home to customers, said James Kobielus, an analyst with Forrester Research.

"They are also very much built for rapid deployment and rapid customisation," Kobielus said. "These products incorporate a lot of content built in an agile collaborative way by SAP and its customers."

The products leverage many of SAP's own homegrown technologies, as well as those from its Business Objects acquisition, he said. A lot of this pre-established, robust SAP enterprise-grade technology but packaged and built for fairly narrow niches," he said.

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