SAP, sat down for a video interview about the current state and future goals of the enterprise software giant's popular BusinessObjects BI and analytics platform, which Schwarz is in charge of.Not long ago John Schwarz, an executive board member at
The discussion was wide-ranging, but a key statement buried in all the talk about BusinessObjects was an admission that real-time access to analytics was vital for the future of the enterprise. If the future of the consumer Web is real-time streams of information and communication channels, then what will keep businesses caught up will be tools to analyze and iterate just as quickly. For an absolute leviathan in the B2B space, this is a huge acknowledgment.
SAP's Top Priorities
Dennis Howlett conducted the original interview, and he brought up some great points about SAP's approach, such as how frustrating an analytics focus on spreadsheets can be for end users. He also kindly posted the video on YouTube, which you can watch in full below.
The first part is largely a recap of what BusinessObjects is all about, so if you're familiar with the platform then it's nothing that special. But later, he outlines the three top priorities for the future of SAP's analytics and optimization group. In general, he recognized that:
Customers have implemented and automated their core processes and have done a very good job in making that happen. They've created enormous amounts of data that is generated by these automated processes.
We now need to help them to use this information to understand how their processes are executing, to do a better job planning and optimizing the processes based on the understanding they have gained from the analysis that they have done.
Real-Time is the Future of Analytics & Optimization
In addition to a general need for stronger analysis of the loads of data being generated in the enterprise, the industry needs to do a better job of providing real-time analysis capabilities. Schwarz outlined the problem:
Customers already do that today with let's say Neilsen data, or IRI data. But these analyses are not real time, and they are only available in massively undifferentiated databases. We've got to bring tools to the customer that allow them to take their product marketing strategies and the retail response to those marketing strategies and make those available real time so that the analysis can be done instantly and that the customer can iterate and do some predictive work on the information that they have.
As Jennifer Martinez at GigaOM has reminded us, real-time isn't actually something new. The hurdle has always been that we don't have what we need to properly filter the constant stream of information.
In the enterprise, that means that big-time software companies like SAP are going to have to ensure that their platforms for analyzing the data are real-time too. Automating business processes is one win, but it's not going to matter a whit if users can't get the data they need to continue innovating at a faster pace.
Thanks to Tim Elliot of SAP for the transcription.