SAP has updated its BusinessObjects analytics platform, offering new features designed to provide better access to data on the go and faster processing of information.
Chief among the BusinessObjects 4.0 updates is the use of SAP's High Performance Analytic Appliance (HANA) platform running in-memory technology to provide real-time data when carrying out business intelligence (BI) requests.
BusinessObjects 4.0 is also fully integrated with SAP's enterprise information management products, and includes social networking tools to give customers a common experience when interacting with the platform.
SAP explained that the software can be deployed on-premise, in the cloud or as a hybrid of the two, and can be accessed on a range of mobile devices to meet growing demand to access information on the go. Support is currently offered for the iPhone and iPad, as well as RIM’s BlackBerry Torch and Playbook, although not the business favourite Bold. Android device support is set to follow soon.
The firm also released six applications for the BusinessObjects platform aimed at several specific industries, including media, energy, healthcare and finance.
James Kobielus, a senior analyst at Forrester Research, told V3.co.uk that the BusinessObjects 4.0 update will be welcomed by customers, but mostly represents the first step on SAP's HANA roadmap.
"The 4.0 release is not a game changer, but it really helps customers to start moving down the road of undertaking tasks like self-service BI through the use of the in-memory platform," he said.
"Giving staff the ability to do this helps them to be more productive, but also takes a lot of burden away from IT staff who can then turn resources to more important things like master data management or predictive analytics."
Kobielus added that a more significant update to HANA is expected later this year, and that SAP is attempting to fight back against Oracle and IBM in an increasingly tough BI landscape.
"SAP is up against a very aggressive competitor in Oracle, so it needs to show innovation and HANA provides that. It makes SAP look like an innovator when it has never really been perceived in this way before," he said.
"Meanwhile, IBM is using numerous acquisitions like Cognos and SPSS to offer predictive analytics, which is something SAP itself offers through SPSS technology, meaning it has to differentiate itself elsewhere, which the HANA platform provides."
SAP has already announced that it will launch new modules for its Business By Design platform during 2011, and will go live in May with its SAP Store that hosts applications customers can download.
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