The problem with predictive analytics is that it usually takes eight people wearing lab coats to set up the application, and even then the data they are usually working with is inherently out of date.
SAP wants to change that starting today with the release of an SAP BusinessObjects Predictive Analytics application that is not only more accessible to the average business user, but also uses the in-memory computing capabilities of the SAP High Performance Analytics Appliance (HANA) to process data in real time.
According to Jason Kuo, group product marketing manager for SAP, the SAP BusinessObjects Predictive Analytics software gives users access to a library of predictive analytics algorithms that they can easily invoke or import algorithms developed using the R statistical programming language. By utilizing HANA, Kuo says those algorithms can be applied against multiple sources of Big Data that can all be aggregated in the HANA platform, which makes it easier to correlate information housed in applications that may be strewn across the enterprise. Over time, SAP also plans to add integration to other sources of data, including SAP BusinessObjects universes and SAP Sybase IQ services.
While interest in predictive analytics has never been higher, it still requires several high priests schooled in the art of analytics to implement. Kuo says that with the release of SAP BusinessObjects Predictive Analytics, SAP is trying to make predictive analytics more accessible to the average business analyst. This should not only help democratize access to information, says Kuo, it should also lead to the business making better decisions because it has real-time access to all the relevant data, not just a thin slice of data that has been modeled to fit a certain set of assumptions.
Of course, the degree to which business users will trust the information they find using predictive analytics applications remains to be seen. But one thing that is for sure is that we'll never find out if we don't find ways for making the technology more broadly accessible.