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SAP preps for analytics revolution

by Davin Wilfrid

November 3, 2011

By Davin Wilfrid, insiderRESEARCH

I'm at the combined SAPinsider Reporting & Analytics, Projects, and Outsourcing 2011 event in Las Vegas this week, where yesterday Sanjay Poonen of SAP laid out his company's strategy for supporting what he termed a revolution in business technology. 

"We believe that analytics will be as big as ERP was for the last 30 or 40 years," said Poonen. 

For the past few decades, companies have delivered business value by capturing increasingly massive quantities of transactional data into a central ERP system. The challenge for the next few decades is to extract insight from all that data. 

SAP's approach is to build what Poonen calls an "information value chain" with dashboards at the tip of a large iceberg of data management applications and processes. 

Poonen likened SAP's analytics strategy to an anatomy lesson, with Enterprise Information Management applications at the feet, supporting the rest of t he structure. Business Intelligence is the heart of the body, while analytics is at the head. (Data, naturally, is in the stomach, feeding the entire enterprise). 

The two lynchpins of SAP's analytics strategy are BI 4.0, the product suite of BI and analytics tools released in October 2011, and of course HANA. Poonen said SAP had discovered that for every $5 enterprise software spent on analytics, they spent $10 on transactional applications and $15 on data warehousing and storage. HANA is designed to help reduce customer spend in that third area by bringing the entire database into RAM, where it can be accessed 1,000 times faster than from a traditional database. 

To help further drive HANA into the SAP customer base, SAP plans to announce a version of HANA that sits underneath SAP NetWeaver BusinessWarehouse -- allowing customers to leverage HANA with their existing data warehouse investments. 

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