The line between business intelligence and analytics applications continues to get blurrier with the release of the latest version of SAP business intelligence software.
At the BusinessObjects 2013 User Conference today, SAP formally announced version 4.1 of SAP BusinessObjects BI application, which now includes a free personal edition of SAP Lumira data discovery software that makes it easier to visualize BI data.
According to Jason Rose, vice president of BI product marketing for SAP, with the release of version 4.1 of SAP BusinessObjects BI, SAP is making a deliberate effort to make both BI and analytics capabilities more accessible to a broader range of people within the organization. While there will still be a need for more sophisticated analytics applications, Rose says it’s clear that more end users need access to analytics within the context of a BI application.
To make both BI and analytics more accessible, SAP is trying to boost the visualization capabilities included within the BI applications to make it easier to identify business trends.
Rose says analytics software is becoming a greater part of the mainstream office environment in part because more end users are recognizing the limitations of spreadsheets. Not only are spreadsheet applications more likely to contain errors, they are also a cumbersome way to share insights and information compared to the visualization tools that come with the average BI application. Rose notes that from a compliance perspective, spreadsheets also make it difficult to discern the logic that went into the conclusion being presented within any given tab.
Of course, the next biggest challenge IT organizations may face is the proliferation of departmental BI applications that are being deployed both locally and via the cloud. The end result may not be that there isn’t enough usage of BI applications, but rather that everybody is using their own favorite BI application in a way that adds more confusion than actual insight.