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SAP bets on in-memory, mobility in new BI suite

Chris Kanaracus | Feb. 23, 2011
SAP is hoping to gain ground in the increasingly heated market for business intelligence software, announcing a suite on Wednesday that focuses on areas like mobility and real-time data analysis.

Business Objects 4.0 follows major BI upgrades delivered by IBM and Oracle within the past year.

Vendors are keen to strengthen their BI portfolios, since the software has continued to sell despite the global economic downturn, as enterprises seek competitive advantage and deeper insights into their business.

Larger BI vendors like SAP, Oracle and IBM are competing on every aspect of the BI stack, which can be decomposed into scores of components, from ETL (extract, transform and load) tools for collecting data, all the way to reporting and analytics, Forrester's Evelson said in an interview this week.

"The point is, not everyone can do everything," he said.

However, companies that are heavily standardized on application and database products from vendors such as SAP or Oracle "have very little reason" to look beyond those companies for BI tools, Evelson said.

But for companies with highly heterogenous environments or the desire for advanced capabilities like predictive modeling, "the choices are very, very wide," he said.

As for existing Business Objects customers, the move to 4.0 should not entail any changes to licensing, Weisbeck said during a question-and-answer session.

SAP customers will also get a taste of the release's capabilities in the next "enhancement pack" for the Business Suite ERP (enterprise resource planning) platform, which will include embedded dashboards and reports built on 4.0, Weisbeck said.

Also Wednesday, SAP announced six new industry-specific BI applications, which are based on the current 3.1 release. The next wave of industry applications will be created on 4.0, an official said.


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