SAP plans KXEN buy to widen appeal of big data analytics

The proposed acquisition of predictive-analytics firm KXEN is designed to help SAP automate more business modelling tasks for non data scientists.
Written by Toby Wolpe, Contributor

Enterprise software giant SAP says it's buying predictive-analytics firm KXEN to increase use of its own big-data analysis tools among ordinary business staff by adding more automation.

The planned acquisition for an undisclosed sum will allow SAP to absorb KXEN's "powerful and easy-to-use" tools, which automate certain analytics jobs, into its cloud and on-premise products, including SAP HANA in-memory processing technology.

"KXEN technology extends predictive analytics tools beyond data scientists to line-of-business users and analysts in the workplace by automating key modelling and analytical tasks and enabling faster deployment and adoption," SAP said in a statement.

KXEN's predictive analytics tools and applications automate the end-to-end modelling process, according to SAP, and "replace the classic model-creation process, which is manual, repetitive and prone to human errors".

San Francisco-based KXEN's main product, InfiniteInsight, and its Cloud Prediction cloud platform have notched up more than 500 deployments at organisations including Bank of America, Barclays, ING Direct, Lowe's, Sears, and Vodafone.

SAP says KXEN technology complements its existing analytics software, including SAP Predictive Analysis, and will enhance SAP operations management, CRM, supply chain, and risk and fraud applications.

"Additionally, the company plans to incorporate KXEN technology into cloud and on-premise SAP applications built on SAP HANA, including the SAP Fraud Management analytics application, SAP Smart Meter Analytics software and SAP 360 Customer," the company said.

"This is aiming to help customers use predictive analytics and data mining to make better decisions on petabytes of big data."

KXEN CEO John Ball said in a statement that customers were increasingly asking for predictive applications that could be easily used by the business in the cloud and on premise. "The real-time, big-data capabilities of SAP HANA make it the ideal platform to deliver on this," he said.

SAP says the KXEN acquisition will also allow it to introduce new predictive features to software for more than 25 sectors, "particularly data-intensive vertical industries such as telecommunications, retail, consumer products, manufacturing and financial services".

SAP expects the acquisition to be completed in the final quarter of 2013.

According to analyst firm IDC, the predictive analytics software market is worth $2bn and should pass $3bn in 2017.

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