Running smarter is the key theme of the BI 4/EIM4 launch (though the online event is apparently not running at all, let alone running smarter). The launch of the two together – Business Intelligence and Enterprise Information Management –is deliberate on SAP’s part. Information is power and being able to discover, integrate, cleanse and use information is a critical advantage for organizations. So EIM and BI go together.
From SAP’s perspective not only is there a revolution in information there is also a revolution in consumption. People want real-time information on a mobile device.
Now I would argue that what they need are systems that make better decisions on their behalf (applying analytics and rules to make precise, consistent decisions automatically) and mobile devices that tell them what these systems did so users override when necessary. But that’s just me.
Part of the BI 4/EIM 4 release is a focus on in-memory analytics as discussed yesterday – High Performance Analytic Appliance (HANA). This was illustrated with a report against many millions of records. And it was blazingly fast, for sure.
Interestingly what this ALSO showed was how useless a report can be to actually make decisions even if the charting and interactivity are much improved too! Begin, always, with the decision in mind not with a report.
Another new element is Event Insight – event processing and feeding of events into dashboards and reports.
I remain unconvinced that dashboards are useful with real-time event streams and that the real value is in driving alerting or in making decisions about what the event stream tells you and acting on them automatically in real time.
Event Insight also supports analysis and automated decisioning based on this analysis of this kind – the SAP guys just like to demonstrate real-time dashboards. Event Insight supports some text analytics too, allowing entity extraction from tweets in the demo for instance. Being able to put event streams to work using analytics and analytic-based decisions is a key element of BI 4 and something definitely worth looking into.
Wrapping up, SAP has a real focus on delivering BI to many mobile devices whether Blackberry or RIM Playbook, iPad or whatever. These mobile interfaces are very complete, allowing all the dashboarding and interactivity that SAP has delivered in the new releases. Web Intelligence reports are also available now on mobile devices – same report, interactive on the device using its native capability whether it is on an Android, RIM or Apple device.
SAP’s key message is that when you make big data accessible in real-time on mobile devices then you change the game.