There's so much going on in the 4.0 release it's impossible to cover it all in a single column, but it wouldn't be an SAP release without some nod to mobile deployment. SAP demonstrated mobile delivery of its (Flash-intensive) Dashboards (formerly Xcelsius) on the new Research In Motion Blackberry Playbook Tablet. The SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence interface, which doesn't use Flash, was demonstrated on an Apple iPad tablet.
As if all these new features and upgrades didn't give customers enough to think about, SAP also announced six new analytic applications on Wednesday, enhancing the family of analytic apps introduced last fall. The new products include IP Rights Analysis (for optimizing sales of intellectual property such as videos), Upstream Operations Performance Management (for energy companies), Productivity Management Application for Healthcare, Risk and Solvency Management for Insurance, Healthcare Practitioner Spend Analysis, and Planning for Public Sector.
The new apps are expected by mid 2011 and will bring the number of industry and line-of-business analytic applications to 24.
SAP packed buzz phrases like "real-time, mobile and social" into its BusinessObjects 4.0 press releases, but it's hard to boil it down to a few simple themes. Steve Lucas, general manager, Business Analytics at SAP called it "the single most important business intelligence and information management release in the history of the company."
I've heard that kind of hyperbole before, so I'll take it to be the most important BI release you're likely to see from SAP for the next three or four years.