SAP ups the ante for its Analytics Cloud and Cloud Platform

SAP adds availability on Google's cloud; integration of BI, predictive analytics and planning in major Enterprise applications; new data connectors and more to its core and analytics cloud offerings.
Written by Andrew Brust, Contributor

An SAP "Search to Insight" screen

Credit: SAP

Today is the second day of SAP's Sapphire Now conference, and the announcements continue. While yesterday was all about the company's new Data Management Suite, today is about the cloud, both at the base Cloud Platform level and also around the company's Analytics Cloud.

Also read: SAP Launches HANA Data Management Suite

Google too, and Big Blue
Since the Analytics Cloud itself runs on the SAP Cloud Platform, improvements to the latter benefit the former. The big news at the Cloud Platform level includes its general availability (GA) on Google's Cloud Platform (GCP), which joins Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure as a major public cloud on which SAP Cloud Platform runs.

And customers who want SAP Cloud Platform without what they may perceive as risks of multi-tenant environments can do so on IBM's cloud. The agreement between SAP and Big Blue allows the provisioning of per-customer, dedicated, single-tenant infrastructure.

Other news at the Cloud Platform level includes the GA of MultiChain and Hyperledger Fabric blockchain services. (Larry Dignan has more on that on a separate post.)

Also read: SAP launches blockchain-as-a-service effort, aims to integrate it into portfolio, processes

Connectors, Android, dynamic scaling and Big Data
But SAP is announcing a lot more today than blockchain and availability on GCP. For example, it's adding 150 connectors for cloud-based, non-SAP business applications, including Salesforce, ServiceNow, Marketo, Zendesk and even ERP player Oracle NetSuite. SAP is also announcing an Android SDK, which joins the one already created for Apple's iOS, and it's rolling out consumption-based pricing, worldwide, to augment its subscription-based pricing.

More on the data side of things, there's integration of SAP Data Hub with SAP's Big Data services (ostensibly including the company's Hadoop and Spark service, SAP Vora); dynamic scalability for HANA as a service, including both memory and disk, which can be scaled in granular chunks.

Also read: SAP unveils its Data Hub
Also read:
SAP Vora 2.0 ushers in containers, Kubernetes, tighter HANA integration

Analytics inside
We're not done yet though, because SAP also has a slew of announcements specific to its Analytics Cloud service. This includes the integration of BI, predictive analytics and planning in major Enterprise applications, like
S/4HANA, SuccessFactors, Ariba and Concur.

SAP has its own core roots in ERP and a long-held analytics orientation, based on its SAP Business Warehouse (BW) technology. Beyond that though, because of its many acquisitions, the company brings together multiple generations and types of technology.

Also read: SAP HANA does Big Data...with ERP, CRM and BI savvy

Relevant acquisitions include data-focused companies, including Outlooksoft (whose product now manifests as SAP Business Planning and Consolidation -- BPC), Business Objects and Sybase. On the business applications side there's the aforementioned SuccessFactors, Ariba and Concur. Now the company is really tying these assets together, allowing cloud business application users to integrate assets like on-premises BPC models and BusinessObjects Universes.

BI for the rest of us
Beyond mere integration, SAP is also trying to make analytics software easier to use, through simplifying the user interface and adding natural language query (NLQ). In addition, the company is adding pre-built analytic content with business logic and workflow.

And SAP is partnering with Dow Jones, integrating that company's DNA service, making available news feed data that can be explicitly selected, or automatically contextualized, based on the measures and dimensions being used in analyses. These news feeds are available in areas such as manufacturing, trade management, banking, insurance and real estate management.


Dow Jones DNA/SAP Analytics Cloud integration

Credit: SAP

Enterprise software as analytics platform
SAP isn't an analytics company per se. It's not a Tableau, a Cloudera or a MapR. But it is a company with a multi-decade culture of providing software solutions to Enterprise companies -- the companies which, arguably, drive most of the demand for BI, AI and analytics.

With so many services and so many applications that Enterprise professionals use every single day, SAP has a unique responsibility to bring analytics to a great many customers and a unique opportunity to make analytics work in a ubiquitous fashion for all of them. SAP refers to this analytics-driven vision as the Intelligent Enterprise.

It's no surprise, then, that this year's Sapphire Now conference is so heavy on data and analytics announcements and that SAP's cloud platform is so data-centric. Those of us who follow the analytics market ignore big Enterprise application companies, like SAP and Salesforce, at our peril.

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