SAP Launches a Slew of Speedier Analytics Apps

SAP has stepped up its analytics offerings with the launch of a family of industry-specific BusinessObjects applications, many of which were co-designed with users.

SAP Co-CEO Bill McDermott introduced the analytic offerings at DEMO Fall 2010 on Tuesday, joined by a slew of early adopter customers who discussed their experiences with the tools.

This next generation of analytics was designed for fast implementation, with as little customization and user training as possible, said Keith Costello, EVP business analytics, during the demonstration.”Customers need easy to use applications — what they don’t need are 10-day training sessions.”

The new products can be deployed as standalone applications, he added.

Building on SAP’s Base

However, these new industry-specific applications are not a complete rip-and-replace of the company’s previous product line. Rather, they build upon SAP’s and BusinessObjects’ traditional business intelligence and enterprise performance management tools, said Jeff Veis, VP industry marketing, SAP BusinessObjects.

“It is the way the industry has evolved — analytics are now expected to be applied to use cases, be they industry-specific or vertical-specific,” he told CRM Buyer.

The applications have their own data models that connect to a company’s infrastructure, which means they can be easily deployed in any ERP environment, he explained.

Some integration work is necessary, though, for the last mile, continued Veis. “You would need a systems integrator to connect it to your data sources and to adjust the KPIs for their naming and presentation.”

To that end, SAP has developed special implementation and customized predictive analytics services for these products.

The First 10

The first 10 industry-specific apps:

  • BusinessObjects On-Shelf Availability Analysis
  • BusinessObjects Trade Promotion Effectiveness
  • BusinessObjects Enterprise Risk Reporting for Banking
  • BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation for Banking
  • BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation for Healthcare
  • BusinessObjects Quality Management for Healthcare
  • BusinessObjects Sales Analysis for Retail
  • BusinessObjects Customer Analysis and Retention for Telecommunications
  • BusinessObjects Readiness Assessment for Defense & Security
  • BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation for Public Sector

All of the applications approach the industries from similar disciplines — such as finance, sales, marketing, risk assessment, customer satisfaction and retention.

“What we are bringing to market is a new ability to get insight from day-to-day data,” Costello said.

Changing Times

The customers speaking at SAP’s demo represented diverse backgrounds — from consumer goods to healthcare — but they emphasized common themes in using analytics.

The necessity of speedy — that is, real-time — analytics is ubiquitous across many sectors.

Consumers have become tech-savvy and agile, and they expect retailers to meet a new set of expectations, said Tom Peck, senior vice president and CIO of Levi Strauss. “We have been moving away from regional based decision-making to global brand management as a result. But we need a transparent, supply chain operation to do so — that means the necessary data for real-time assortment and pricing decisions at managers’ fingertips.”

To reach that goal, Levi requires a simplified reporting infrastructure, toolkits, data warehouses — and the capability to deliver information to mobile devices.

For the pharmaceutical industry, a sector-specific analytics application needs to emphasize the right KPIs, which to McKesson Pharmaceuticals, means metrics that focus on distrubution and logistics, said Stephanie McDoulett, VP, SAP shared service center. “We move a lot of product throughout the country. Our goal is to run the leanest, tightest distribution center operation in the industry, and for that we need the right metrics.”

Other users emphasized the general business applicability of the analytics apps. For example, Johns Hopkins Hospital is using the application to improve its staffing and operational efficiencies, according to Stephanie Reel, CIO of Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine.

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