SAP unveils SaaS analytics platform

SAP Cloud for Analytics aims to redefine analytics by combining business intelligence, planning and predictive analytics into a SaaS offering built on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform.

SAP is aiming to redefine analytics with a new software as a service (SaaS) offering that rolls up business intelligence (BI), planning and predictive analytics into a single service built on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform.

"Really it's about simplifying access to a public cloud analytics experience that customers can trust," says Nic Smith, senior director of Marketing for Analytics at SAP.

SAP plans to embed SAP Cloud for Analytics with existing SAP solutions that can connect to cloud as well on-premises data, giving organizations a single service that will provide employees with the capability to track performance, analyze trends, predict and collaborate to make informed decisions and improve business outcomes.

SAP Cloud for Analytics is the next iteration of SAP Cloud for Planning, announced last year. It will replace that offering, which has been available since the beginning of the year, with the addition of BI capabilities. Smith says the BI capabilities — which will offer organizations reporting, visualization and storytelling capabilities — will be generally available in the fourth quarter of this year. Additional capabilities, including predictive analytics and governance, risk and compliance (GRC) will follow.

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The power of the platform

"Whether you're in the boardroom or in front of a customer, there is a fit solution that will meet your needs," Smith says. "By bringing these capabilities together on a single platform, there's advantages those users can get — commonalities in collaboration and business process and workflow that can help bring these capabilities together."

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Live Oak Bank, one of the U.S.'s largest small business loan originators has been using the solution to help it make real-time decisions on forecasts and strategic initiatives.

"SAP Cloud for Analytics was transformational by allowing real-time updates to our plans, collaboration across the organization from within the app, advanced analytics and one-click visualization for our users," Stephen Hayes, analytics manager, Live Oak Bank, said in a statement today. "The end-user experience was well-received from our leadership team to our analysts."

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Analytics for everyone

By delivering SAP Cloud for Analytics in a fully scalable, multi-tenant environment, Smith says the price point will make the service accessible to companies of all sizes and even individuals. Smith says benefits of the solution include the following:

  • Unification of BI, planning, budgeting and predictive capabilities in a one-product experience that will be delivered via the cloud, providing agility.
  • Delivery of business outcomes with workflows that go from real-time insight to taking action, all within the application.
  • Access to all data from a multitude of sources, giving business users the capability to sample, wrangle, combine and blend data big and small, on-premises and in the cloud.
  • A trusted and scalable platform with a flexible and intuitive user interface designed for business users.
  • The capability for finance professionals and line of business analysts to build connected planning models, analyze data and collaborate in context.
  • The capability to spot market trends based on social media data analysis, allowing users to correlate trends to know how much inventory is required to meet anticipated demand.

The solution can be embedded in third-party apps as well as on SAP. For instance, SAP is collaborating with Google to embed, refresh and edit SAP Cloud for Analytics content directly in Google Docs and Google Sheets. Meanwhile, Daimler Trucks North America is using cloud analytics solutions from SAP to identify and track potential sales for dealers, crunch large volumes of data and visualize data for business users.

Fantasy football meets predictive analytics

Even the NFL is getting in on the action. It's using big data and analytics from SAP for fantasy football to provide recommendations to fans with a player comparison tool.

"The NFL looks forward to collaborating with SAP on the future vision for cloud analytics," Cory Mummery, vice president and general manager, NFL Now, NFL, said in a statement today. "The ability to provide powerful analytics capabilities from around the game will further enhance the fan experience in our fantasy football products."

While SAP saysSAP Cloud for Analytics will power the analytics applications of the future, Smith says that doesn't mean SAP will take its eyes off the ball when it comes to on-premise analytics solutions. SAP will continue to invest in its existing on-premise portfolio.

"There will be continued investment while we build the future for software as a service analytics," he says.

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