SAP Marries Mobile Computing to Real-time Analytics

Michael Vizard
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Nine Predictions for the Analytics Industry in 2011

The competitive gap between analytical innovators and those who do not invest in analytics will widen over the coming 12 months.

SAP today during the launch of version 4.0 of its BusinessObjects business intelligence software took pains to draw a connection between the rise of mobile computing and the need to run analytics applications in memory.

The theory is that as analytics applications are processing in memory faster on dedicated High Performance Analytic Appliances (HANA), there will be a material impact on the speed at which these applications are rendered on mobile computing devices.

That theory may not stand up to the wireless network bandwidth limitations of today, but at some point in the future the connection between real-time analytics and mobile computing will live up to what Steve Lucas, global senior executive of business analytics at SAP, describes as the "killer application" for BusinessObjects 4.0. In fact, noted author and venture capitalist Geoffrey Moore, during his keynote speech at the event, noted that the emergence of "systems of engagement," which combine mobile computing with real-time analytics, is going to be the next big thing in IT because it will give business executives the tools they need to make decisions in the moment, rather than relying on reports generated by "systems of record" long after the event.

In the meantime, some of the SAP exuberance for all-things-mobile naturally stems from its recent acquisition of Sybase. The new release, in fact, adds support for the Sybase Unwired platform and a bevy of new features for tablet PCs from Apple, Research In Motion and Samsung.


But in the near term, IT organizations are likely to be a little more interested in how BusinessObjects has been revamped to include new Data Services, Information Steward and Event Insight tools that make it easier to consolidate data, assess the quality of the data, determine its source and analyze it in the context of specific events.

SAP was a little light concerning specific details of how these services actually work and the potential impact on the business beyond analyzing Twitter posts. But it's pretty clear that by running analytics in memory, the company is looking to expand the range of analytics that can be processed. More details on these new services will probably be forthcoming once SAP partners start shipping HANA systems later this year. At the same time, however, there's no reason to think that the rest of the business intelligence vendor community won't be down the same path by then either.

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