SAP rolled out its latest data-visualization and analytics software at an even in Las Vegas last week, and the highlights include a new low-cost, on-premises version of the Lumia data-visualization platform for small- and mid-sized businesses and an integrated suite of analytics tools for experts and business users alike.
Lumira is SAP's answer to the hot-selling products from data-visualization specialist Tableau Software and data-exploration specialist Qlik software, both of which have been the fastest-growing vendors in the BI and analytics market for the past few years. Lumira was introduced as a rebranding of SAP Visual Intelligence product in 2013, and it marked the introduction of Lumira Cloud.
Earlier this month, SAP introduced Lumira Edge edition as a lightweight, low-cost, on-premises option for small- and midsized-businesses, as well as departments of larger companies. It's an alternative to Lumira Cloud, which touts fast-deployment for individuals and workgroups, and Lumira Desktop, which is easily affordable and accessible to business analysts, according to SAP, but lacks workgroup collaboration features.
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"Business analysts tell us that they need to bring multiple data sources together to answer business questions, and that includes personal Excel files, enterprise sources, and unstructured files," said Jayne Landry, Global vice president and general manager of Business Intelligence for SAP.
A common example is understanding how sales teams are doing against their quotas, Landry says. The revenue numbers typically come from an enterprise system, while quote information might be in a spreadsheet. With Desktop a business analyst could combine the data, but it was difficult to share the results and collaborate with others.
"Until this week, we had Lumira Cloud and Lumira Server on Hana as the options for a shared environment," Landry explained. "Lumira Edge fills a gap for those who don't want to go cloud, but who need to serve the needs of small teams."
Lumira Edge runs on a simple, embedded in-memory engine, and the entire system is said to install on commodity x86 servers in fewer than 15 minutes. The system maxes out at 100 named users or up to 50 concurrent users. The cost is $1,300 per named user or $26,000 per 5 concurrent users.
Inspired by BusinessObjects Edge edition, another low-cost, SMB offering, Lumira Edge will integrate with the larger BusinessObjects BI platform starting in April, according to Landry. That means Lumira Edge can draw on enterprise data sources when creating data visualizations, and then published visualizations can be refreshed as data in the original sources is updated.
SAP Predictive Analytics 2.0 merges SAP Predictive Analysis, the company's data-mining workbench for statisticians and predictive analysts, with KXEN InfiniteInsight, the analytics system for business analysts that SAP acquired in 2013. The result, says SAP, in a move that was signaled months in advance, is a "single, unified analytics product" that offers two work environments: an Expert mode for the data professionals and an automated mode for data-savvy business users.
In point of fact, SAP has yet to really unify these two environments so experts and business users can collaborate around the same business processes.
"The is obviously the beginning of a move to a more integrated metadata-management layer, and in subsequent releases, like 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3, we'll take the combination to the next level with a unified model-management layer and integrated metadata-management repository," acknowledged Sven Bauszus, Global vice president and general manager for Predictive Analytics for SAP, in a phone interview with InformationWeek.
Analytics competitors including SAS and Alpine Data Labs are out ahead on offering collaborative tools that enable data-professionals and business power users to work together. SAS offers SAS Visual Analytics and SAS Visual Statistics, both of which are drag-and-drop tools that run on the SAS Laser Server. Alpine Data Lab's Enterprise Platform for Advanced Analytics has a shared workflow designed to let professionals and business-user collaborators share suggestions, and iteratively review and optimize analytic results.
In another upgrade in SAP Predictive Analytics 2.0, the suite has been integrated with SAP Lumira such that expert users and business-user types will both be able to tap into Lumira data-visualization capabilities.
"Lumira helps experts look at the data to get an understanding of potential modeling approaches, and the predictive capabilities built into Lumira help business analysts detect anomalies and outliers that help explain the data," said Bauszus.
Lumira Edge and SAP Predictive Analytics 2.0 are both available immediately.
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