SAP Integrates Apache Spark, Buys Into Mobile Analytics

SAP has acquired a mobile business data visualization provider, added Apache Spark support to its SAP Predictive Analytics 2.5 software, and enhanced its SAP HANA Cloud predictive services. Here are the details.

Jessica Davis, Senior Editor

February 17, 2016

3 Min Read
<p align="left">(Image: SAP Headquarters via SAP)</p>

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Looking to accelerate its cloud analytics capabilities, SAP has acquired assets from Roambi, a company that offers an iOS application that converts business data into interactive graphics. SAP has also announced updates to its predictive analytics software to improve support for open source big data technologies.

The Roambi deal is one of a handful of announcements from SAP this week intended to build on the company's advanced analytics capabilities and strategy. The announcements coincide with the company's SAPinsider BI 2016 conference in Las Vegas and the Spark Summit East event in New York this week.

SAP said the Roambi deal is intended to bring mobile analytics access to everyone.

[Analytics, IoT, and other technologies are a key focus for SAP. Read SAP Brings New HANA Analytics To Market.]

"The old analytics strategy-to-execution loop is not real time, agile, or democratic enough to adjust to digital realities," said Steve Lucas, president, Digital Enterprise Platform at SAP, in a prepared statement announcing the deal. Lucas said that SAP's goal is to deliver all-in-one analytics for everyone, available in the cloud and on-premises, and designed to be ubiquitous and real-time.

Demand for Spark modeling is another driver for SAP. The company announced SAP Predictive Analytics 2.5, which adds add performance-boosting native Spark modeling for analysts and data scientists working in Hadoop-based environments.

Chandran Saravana, senior director of advanced analytics at SAP, told InformationWeek in an interview that version 2.5, which is on-premises software, would enter general availability in Q1 2016. "Spark is very big for us," Saravana said. "And native integration means you don't have to move data back and forth."

Lack of Spark integration hurt SAP on the most recent Gartner Magic Quadrant for Advanced Analytics, so the addition of Spark support is significant.

Following a retooling of Gartner's criteria to reflect changes in the market, SAP moved from the Leaders Quadrant to the Visionaries Quadrant of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics for 2016. The company is in the Challengers Quadrant for advanced analytics.

Gartner said that SAP Predictive Analytics is made up of the following two components: expert analytics, which is a visual workflow tool for data scientists, and automated analytics, which is a wizard-driven UI for business analytics and other users.

"SAP has high visibility and has increased its visibility in the advanced analytics market," Gartner said in its Advanced Analytics Magic Quadrant report.

HANA Cloud Predictive Services Enhanced

Enhancements to the SAP HANA Cloud predictive services were also announced. SAP HANA Cloud predictive services 1.0 is available now, and enables developers and partners to integrate predictive capabilities into their own cloud-based applications, Saravana said. Developers can use RESTful Web services for batch and real-time analysis. The platform provides access to five key services -- scoring equations, key influencers, dataset services, outliers, and forecasting.

Saravana said that the cloud platform offers a subset of what SAP provides in its on-premises Predictive Analytics 2.5 software. Yet the industry as a whole is moving towards a model that combines both on-premises and cloud capabilities, and Saravana expects the market to be much closer to that reality in five to six years.

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About the Author(s)

Jessica Davis

Senior Editor

Jessica Davis is a Senior Editor at InformationWeek. She covers enterprise IT leadership, careers, artificial intelligence, data and analytics, and enterprise software. She has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology. Follow her on twitter: @jessicadavis.

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