SAP business intelligence becomes more “Google-like”

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SAP business intelligence becomes more “Google-like”

SAP has launched Business Objects Explorer, which it says brings business intelligence analysis capabilities to all business users.

SAP launched the new product at its Sapphire customer and partner event in Orlando, where it also announced it had finished integrating it 2007 Business Objects purchase with the rest of the SAP portfolio.

The aim is to benefit an organisation in terms of increased efficiency and more informed decision-making, SAP said.

“We have traditionally been focussed on technology that was targeted at technology experts,” said Business Objects chief executive, John Schwarz.

“We need to break out of the high priest of analysis and allow everyone in the organisation, even the CEO, to have the ability to click and search. We need to become more Google-like to give a generic term,” he added.

Schwarz said driving the launch of Business Objects Explorer had been the introduction of new employees into the workforce that had just graduated and who have a very different attitude to IT tools.

He said they are used to sites like Facebook that allow users to collaborate and share.

Meanwhile the way data is being consumed is also changing the business intelligence landscape he continured.

“It was traditionally looked at in databases but now data comes from everywhere…all of this needs to be made available to people to allow them to make good decisions,” Schwarz said.

Business Objects Explorer will bring together the search and navigation capabilities from Business Objects with the in-memory capabilities and compression technology from SAP’s Netweaver.

Marge Breya, SAP Netweaver Intelligence Platform Group vice president told conference attendees, that the combination “delivers something that neither product could have done on its own”.

Breya demonstrated in a presentation that without any training, business users will be able to enter key words into a search box to find data they need, then drill down into specific areas for further investigation.

Users will also be given virtualisation features to draw up charts or reports that best represent the information.

While the IT department may wonder what it is getting from the solutions, Breya added, it is being given a compliant and controllable infrastructure.

Analyst firm Forrester questioned what resources IT will need to make the solution work for the business.

Breya explained SAP would first make the new business intelligence experience work on Business Warehouse data.

Then “Wave Two”, which SAP plans to rollout later this year, will allow customers to use the analysis tool on all information from their enterprise.

Breya additionally said Wave Two would see “SAP put master data management solutions in the hands of business users” to allow them to form their own governance and storage of data policies.

Meanwhile Schwarz spoke of a new SAP policy to make applications independent of hardware to allow users to keep using the same processes with new devices.

Schwarz said this strategy will give customers a choice between deploying applications through an on-demand fashion or through an on-premise scenario.

SAP also wants to separate the application’s code from the application’s data, he said, “Because the application changes a lot more than the user interface.”

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