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Big data, small devices, and the promise of BI 4.0

by Davin Wilfrid

February 24, 2011

by Davin Wilfrid, insiderRESEARCH

To say the SAP community was interested in yesterday's launch event for the latest version of SAP BusinessObjects would be understating things a bit. While those in New York City were treated to a glitzy launch event, the event's live Web stream buckled under the weight of so many clicks and logins.

While annoying for those of us trying to keep up, it was also a fitting tribute to the sheer size and scope of what SAP just released into the wild. Not only does SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 boast enhancements to the existing product set, but also the generational, potentially game-changing technology of in-memory computing (HANA), event driven BI capabilities, sentiment and text analysis, data governance tools, multi-source universe authoring, instant mobile BI, standardized UI across all applications, analytics embedded into SAP Business Suite applications, full integration with enterprise information management (EIM), and a free subscription to Cat Fancy Magazine*.

The laundry list of advanced features is impressive, and may prove to be well worth the three-year wait (this is the first new release since SAP bought Business Objects for $6.8 billion in 2008). HANA in particular may revolutionize the enterprise, offering lightning-fast access to what SAP is now calling "big data" and even delivering business insights to iPhones, Androids, and other tiny devices in the blink of an eye.

But what will have the most immediate impact? My guess is the inclusion of SAP BI Consumer Services (BICS) into the enterprise BI 4.0 platform. Our research shows that technical integration challenges are the #1 obstacle for companies looking to follow the SAP BI road map. BICS promises to alleviate some of those issues by offering a native option to transfer data out of SAP BW and into BI applications. Customers should see a 300% performance increase, according to SAP.

For existing SAP customers, this may be just the break they need to move forward on the BI road map. They may choose to go forward with HANA or integrate BI and EIM solutions at the same time, but I suspect most will be happy just to get Web Intelligence or Xcelsius (sorry, I meant SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards) up and running reliably first.

*Note: This feature is not part of the standard solution set, but is available** by special request.



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