SAP adds more intelligent capabilities to Analytics Cloud

New features like natural language querying take advantage of machine learning to create smoother workflows.

SAP on Tuesday announced enhancements to the SAP Analytics Cloud, including new smart analytics features, collaborative enterprise planning features and the addition of new data sources. The new features come as other cloud application competitors like Oracle add their own intelligent capabilities with the promise of smoother workflows and more data-driven insights. 

With the latest updates, users can ask questions about their data in natural language. They can also get automated insights into their data from the "smart discovery" capability, which now includes key influencers, unexpected values and simulations. There's also a "smart predict" feature that lets analysts train models to predict future outcomes.

In terms of enterprise planning, the Analytics Cloud users are getting improved live connectivity capabilities. This means users can connect complex planning processes from across the business to create end-to-end business plans. They can create and adjust business business plans using tools outside of SAP Analytics Cloud, such as Microsoft Excel.

Meanwhile, the Analytics Cloud is also getting access to more than 100 new data sources, bringing the total number to more than 250. Customers can access data that's both in the cloud or on premise, from sources like SAP BusinessObjects solutions, the SAP HANA business data platform, the SAP Business Warehouse application, SAP S/4HANA, SAP S/4HANA Cloud and the SAP Marketing Cloud.

SAP's Cloud business performed well in the fourth quarter of 2018, the company reported in January. New cloud bookings were up 25 percent to €736 million, while cloud subscriptions and support revenue grew 41 percent year-over-year to €1.41 billion IFRS.

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