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SAP Launches First Wave of Targeted Analytic Apps

Vendor plans growing portfolio of industry-focused, stand-alone apps built on BusinessObjects components.
Meeting growing demand for domain-specific business insight, SAP on Tuesday announced ten stand-alone SAP BusinessObjects analytic applications aimed at the consumer products, healthcare, financial services, retail and telecommunications industries and the public sector.

Developed with input from SAP customers and industry analysts, the apps are focused on line-of-business challenges in specific industries, as the product names confirm:

  • Trade Promotion Effectiveness and On-Shelf Availability apps for consumer products firms,
  • Enterprise Risk Reporting for Banking,
  • Quality Management for Healthcare,
  • Sales Analysis for Retail,
  • Customer Analysis and Retention for Telecommunications,
  • Readiness Assessment for Defense & Security.
The list of ten is rounded out by Planning and Consolidation apps for banks, healthcare organizations and public sector agencies.

"These apps attach the knowledge workers to the action so they can make better decisions and help their company become a best-run business," said SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott, who demonstrated the retail app on an iPad at the launch event, held in Santa Clara, Calif.

The apps are designed to appeal to non-SAP customers in that they are not dependent upon preexisting SAP or BusinessObjects deployments. The products deliver prebuilt dashboards, reports and metrics, and include run-time licenses for the BusinessObjects Enterprise XI server, Xcelsius for dashboarding, Web Intelligence for ad-hoc analysis and Crystal Reports.

The apps also include a preconfigured BusinessObjects Universe (data model) and data federation software that can tap into any data source. This helps deliver on promised rapid deployment; SAP says the apps can be up and running within eight weeks.

SAP is following several competitors into the analytic applications arena. SAS has long offered a broad range of industry-specific applications, though with the advantage of predictive capabilities as well as the sorts of dashboards, ad-hoc analyses and reports available in SAP's new apps.

Long before it was acquired in 2006, Siebel developed a family of horizontal stand-alone analytic apps -- for sales, marketing, customer loyalty, contact centers and price optimization. Oracle has since expanded the portfolio, which is now built on Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition.

IBM, too, has stand-alone analytic applications. Built on Cognos software, the apps are aimed primarily at performance management.

SAP says it's not a me-too player in that it can offer the speedy analysis advantages of its in-memory technology, though this would require an investment in either the Business Warehouse Accelerator or coming SAP High-Performance Analytic Appliance.

Executives also outlined plans to make analytic insights highly actionable with the aid of Sybase mobile technologies.

"We're going to workflow-enable smart phones so you can have meaningful, transactive interactions with your process systems," said Keith Costello, executive vice president for business analytics at SAP.

Costello said mobile support would be added in the first half of 2011, and the company is also planning selected on-demand delivery of the apps.

The ten apps introduced Tuesday are the first in a promised wave, according to Costello. Additional analytic applications are to be added by year end and in 2011 and beyond.