Ventana Research Analyst Perspectives

SAP Shifts to New Strategy in Analytics and BI

Posted by Ventana Research on Aug 28, 2019 7:00:00 AM

We are happy to offer some insights on SAP drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements. Earlier this year we published the Ventana Research Value Index: Analytics and Business Intelligence 2019, the Ventana_Research-Analytics_and_BI-Value_Index-Usabilitydistillation of a year of market and product research efforts. We then developed three additional Value Indexes on Analytics and BI focusing on mobile, embedded and collaborative capabilities. Because each is a critical aspect of modern business intelligence, we developed specific criteria for each in order to provide an in-depth look at features geared specifically to mobile, embedded and collaborative use.

In all of our Value Indexes we utilize a structured research methodology that includes evaluation categories designed to reflect real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal (RFP) and vendor selection process for analytics and business intelligence. We evaluated SAP and 14 other vendors in seven categories, five relevant to the product (adaptability, capability, manageability, reliability and usability) and two related to the vendor (TCO/ROI and vendor validation). To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each category to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on our experience and on data derived from our benchmark research on analytics and business intelligence.

Earlier this year SAP announced it will focus on SAP Analytics Cloud, a public cloud service, as the primary vehicle for data discovery and presented a roadmap that combines SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise into a single hybrid package. Consequently, our analysis is based primarily on SAP Analytics Cloud. Our analysis reveals a broad set of capabilities that supports its move to consolidate around a single product. It uses a model of importing data into the system, but also supports with some limitations live data connections to underlying data via SAP HANA and some other mechanisms.

Overall SAP ranks sixth in the Value Index. Its best rankings were third in Usability and Manageability. The product offers good support for a variety of personas ranging from IT to executives and managers. It provides a modern and clean user interface as well as robust administration and security capabilities.

MOBILE ANALYTICS & BI

SAP Analytics Cloud offers a native mobile application for iOS. The company plans a native application for Android but it was not available at the time of this evaluation. SAP Analytics Cloud allows for responsive pages that adapt to different devices, which helps provide support for non-iOS devices but it requires an explicit design decision when the pages are built.

Overall SAP ranks ninth in this Value Index. More visualization types and more native mobile capabilities such as notifications and location awareness would improve its rankings.

EMBEDDED ANALYTICS & BI

Overall SAP ranks eighth in this Value Index.Ventana_Research_Value_Index_Analytics&BI_2019_COMBINED_SAP The product offers strong data modeling and analytics capabilities and also scores well on integration. However, more visualization types and more output and information delivery capabilities would improve its rankings.

COLLABORATIVE ANALYTICS & BI

The versions we evaluated had strengths in publishing and sharing documents as well as good alerting capabilities. All of these features increase communication and collaboration among line of business personnel. SAP Analytics Cloud includes the ability to share documents in discussion groups and annotate documents to facilitate collaboration. The vendor also enables organizations to define tasks and track those tasks to completion.

Overall SAP ranks eighth in the Value Index and seventh in the Capability category.

To improve its offering SAP could add capabilities such as personalization, communication and automated agents. Personalization and automated agents help provide focus and make collaboration more efficient. In terms of communication, more document formats would enable more individuals to be involved in the collaborative process.

SAP Analytics Cloud is a relatively new product and, as such, the company is still adding some of the capabilities of its predecessor, BusinessObjects. The product has strong planning, forecasting and predictive analytics as well as some nice collaboration features but needs broader functionality to match the Capability leaders. In particular, better data access and integration and better communication of the outcome of the analytics process would improve its rankings. More performance metrics and configuration options would help improve its Reliability ranking.

This assessment was based on SAP Analytics Cloud version 2018.15.0. The company updates the product biweekly; the current release is 2019.02. In the interim enhancements have been made to the visualizations, data integration and administration (including usage analysis). Users now can also export predictive models for use in other environments.

This research-based index is the most comprehensive assessment of the value of analytics and business intelligence software in the industry. Included vendors that wish to learn more about using our Value Index can click here. Read the report here.

Topics: Data Science, Mobile, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Digital Technology

Ventana Research

Written by Ventana Research

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