SAP details in-memory BI roadmap

The company has detailed plans to develop and launch several business intelligence applications in 2011 that take advantage of its in-memory technology
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor

Business intelligence vendor SAP has detailed how it plans to use in-memory computing, which bypasses the need to write data to a physical disk and instead performs analysis and calculations using the system's RAM.

As well as providing a broad overview of the platform's integration with its existing products, SAP drew attention to new and updated applications that will be introduced to the Hana (high-performance analytic appliance) platform over the course of the next year. These include Sales and Operations Planning, Intelligent Payment Broker, Smart Meter Analytics, Trade Promotion Management, and Cash and Liquidity Management apps.

The new applications will transform how people do business, enabling them to simulate outcomes, plan faster and view business problems more holistically than before.

"[The] new family of applications will transform how people do business, enabling them to simulate outcomes, plan faster and view business problems more holistically than before," the company said in a statement.

SAP's Hana in-memory technology combines data-source agnostic software and partner-provided hardware to analyse large volumes of data without the need to write the data to disk, reducing the input/output (I/O) of data and therefore the amount of time required for analysis.

By making use of this technology, businesses can take a simpler, swifter approach to analysis and planning, SAP said.

"Planning previously required data aggregation from various transactional systems or was done with spreadsheets containing static data," SAP said. "In the future, people will be able to develop and execute business plans in real time, based on dynamic transactional data being constantly updated by the business."

Senior Forrester analyst James Kobielus told ZDNet UK on Thursday that the convergence of SAP's key platforms is a major differentiator from its competition, and could even help the company to win new business.

'Technology pacesetter'

"Through its acquisition of Sybase and rapid delivery of the promised next-generation Hana appliance — supporting real-time complex analytics — SAP is rapidly distancing itself from the slow-moving competitor of yore and becomes a technology pacesetter in this segment," Kobielus said.

On 12 May, SAP entered into an agreement to purchase Sybase for $5.8bn, around £4bn at the time

"[SAP's] alignment of the [SAP Netweaver Business Warehouse] and [Sybase] IQ product portfolios... around the new Hana platform, as well as integration of its packaged business apps and BusinessObjects analytics and data integration solutions into Hana, will help the company to innovate and even acquire new enterprise data-warehousing business with non-SAP shops," he added.

The latest iterations of SAP's BI and enterprise information management software are also built to work on-top of the Hana software. In February, SAP launched the newest version of its business intelligence (BI) platform — BusinessObjects 4.0 — which introduced multi-dimensional analytics options so users could analyse different types of data.

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