SAP buying KXEN for predictive analytics

The deal gives SAP user-friendly predictive capabilities

SAP is expanding its arsenal of data-analysis software with the acquisition of predictive analytics vendor KXEN, announced Tuesday.

Predictive analytics has a different goal than traditional BI (business intelligence) software. Rather than generating reports and dashboards off stores of business data, predictive analytics uses statistical models to search for correlations and patterns that might offer clues about customer behavior, market trends and other areas.

KXEN's tools are designed to be friendly for business users analysts and will complement SAP's existing predictive analytics offering, the company said in a statement.

In addition, KXEN can help companies put predictive analytic capabilities into users' hands with less involvement from IT, thanks to a semantic layer it has developed, according to its website.

"In a nutshell, power users define a broad set of reusable business components, called analytical records, which can be applied over and over again to automatically create the analytical data sets used for modeling," a description on the site states.

SAP plans to align the KXEN technology with its line of on-premises ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications, as well as its SaaS (software as a service) portfolio and HANA in-memory database, according to the announcement.

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All told, the deal will give SAP more tools to compete with other predictive analytics vendors, including SAS Institute, IBM and Oracle.

"We expect the market for big data predictive analytics solutions to be vibrant, highly competitive, and flush with new entrants over the next three years," states a Forrester Research report issued earlier this year. Competitive battle lines will center on which vendors can deliver the best data handling, easiest-to-use tools, and the widest choice of analytic algorithms, the report adds.

The KXEN acquisition is expected to close by the end of this year. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is

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