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SAP Shifting Focus from Product Integration to Innovation

SAP is taking a new approach in the BI space by focusing on innovation as was presented at the recent SAPPHIRE NOW event in Orlando, FL. One of the most promising products, Visual Intelligence, is a desktop tool used to visually explore and manipulate date. Visual Intelligence is a compliment to their recently launched HANA platform and is in direct competition to other visual discovery tools such as Tableau and Tibco Spotfire. Here is a brief demo of Visual Intelligence in action:

We have been slowly seeing a growing trend in bigger industry players willing to take the risk and innovate. Even IBM has joined also joined the in-memory analytics fight with IBM Cognos Insight.

However, this is all part of a larger shift in focus for SAP. To structure this new focus, they have devised a 5-Point BI improvement plan described in a recent Information Week article:

1. BI core: Deliver significant upgrades–steps already taken through SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 and the subsequent Feature Pack 3.

2. Creative BI: Provide fast time to value with tools like Visual Intelligence.

3. Mobile BI: Develop first for mobile users through SAP Mobile and Zen.

4. Extreme Analytics: Deliver big-data, real-time, and predictive capabilities with Hana, Sybase IQ, and Predictive Analysis.

5. Social: Capture decisions and leverage the network with tools like StreamWork.

SAP seems to have captured some of the most important needs in the BI space as part of their strategy. However, with so many companies of all sizes fighting for overlapping solutions, only time will tell who is able to capture what emerging components of the overall BI landscape.

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