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SAP Brings Analytics to the Masses

Depending on whose statistics you believe, the number of non-technical users who use business intelligence and analytics applications is between a tenth and a third of the total of business users.

“The penetration rate in this sector is unbelievably low,” says Roman Bukary, VP of analytics at SAP. “Here you have the very people who are supposed to be leveraging BI and analytics applications unable to use the technology. It’s a situation created by the vendors who make these applications unnecessarily complicated.”

SAP is on a mission to change those statistics and bring analytics to the non-techie masses. Last week, the company unveiled a set of model-driven, composite applications designed to cross more than 25 industries. As part of its new SAP Analytics release, SAP developed more than 100 industry-specific analytic applications, covering retail, manufacturing and tax management.

The company made the announcement at the SAPphire 05 International customers conference in Copenhagen. The company highlighted several apps, including SAP Analytics for retail, SAP Analytics for credit management and SAP Analytics for CRM.

“We are targeting the business user [with this release],” Bukary tells AppTrends. “So we wanted, first, to combine analytics, transaction and collaboration into a single set of composite apps; second to deliver our insights on how to build business solutions in the context of the business process; third, to create a user interface that is so visually appealing that it makes people want to experiment, explore and interact with the software; and finally, to make sure that we don’t make this a coding problem.”

SAP Analytics applications run on the company’s NetWeaver, and are compliant with SAP’s Enterprise Services Architecture.

Emphasizing the “modeling versus coding” approach, the user interface supports the Macromedia Flex presentation system, which was extended to SAP applications through SAP’s Visual Composer design tool. Users don’t write applications, but assemble them in Macromedia Flash, Bukary explains.

“We don’t make people think about writing SQL statements or about how to construct queries,” Bukary says. “Instead, we provide them with an environment in which software is assembled, not coded.”

SAP Analytics merges data from SAP and non-SAP applications with BI queries, eliminating islands of data and combining transactional, analytic and collaborative steps across multiple business functions, departments and organizational boundaries, Bukary says.

The company expects the SAP Analytics applications to be available toward the end of 2005 and to be sold as add-on products. For more information, go to: www.sap.com/analytics.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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