This news may dazzle the business intelligence neophytes who don't know in-memory technology from a hole in the ground, but plenty of people inside BI know that QlikTech, TIBCO Spotfire, IBM Cognos TM1 (formerly Applix), SAP BWA (formerly BI Accelerator) and other examples of in-memory have been around for quite a while. And maybe changing the name of the search-meets-BI Polestar interface to Explorer will beguile some into thinking there's actually a new product here.The fact is, SAP BusinessObjects demonstrated this combination at last year's Sapphire event, and it's still being vague about when, exactly, the BW-only product will be released.
Don't get me wrong. This is exciting, promising stuff; it's just that I thought it would be a done deal by this point and that it would go to any source of data, which was the real promise of this combination all along. BW is, well, BW, and that gets you only so far and only with SAP customers. I'm sure SAP customers are happy to have an easy interface like Explorer, but it has been available to BusinessObjects customers (as Polestar) since late 2007.
I was excited to see the Explorer interface exposed within SAP apps and on an IPhone during today's demo. And I'll assume that it also runs on Xcelsius, though there seemed to be a technical hiccup on that part of the demo. Maybe I'm being too harsh, underestimating just how long it takes to productize this stuff. Microsoft, for example, has given itself somewhere between 18 months and two years to deliver in-memory capabilities through project Gemini, which is promised in the first half of 2010.
There is a big opportunity here for SAP in that few of its customers have adopted BWA and even fewer have adopted Polestar. It's a compelling interface and the combination with BWA's in-memory technology makes sense (read more about in-memory in Cindi Howson's "Take Advantage of In-Memory Analytics" report).
All in all, though, I thought today's presentation was a pastiche of topical business buzz words papered over last year's cool demo. What will be really cool is when the acceleration technology can be applied to any source.So this is a Sapphire-worthy announcement? That SAP BusinessObjects still doesn't have the integration of Polestar and Business Warehouse Accelerator (BWA) quite ready and that it won't go beyond SAP Business Warehouse (BW) until late this year or early next year?