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SAP Business Objects Predictive Analytics – A new beginning

Definition of Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics is an area of statistical analysis that deals with extracting information from data and using it to predict future trends and behavior patterns. The core of predictive analytics relies on capturing relationships between explanatory variables and the predicted variables from past occurrences, and exploiting it to predict future outcomes. It is important to note, however, that the accuracy and usability of results will depend greatly on the level of data analysis and the quality of assumptions.

Introduction of R statistical programming language

R is a programming language and software environment for statistical computing and graphics. The R language is widely used among statisticians for developing statistical software and data analysis. R is an open source project initiated by academics in New Zealand in the mid-1990s. It is a statistical language without a graphical user interface. A number of vendors, including SAS, have been adding support for R.

With the announcement of Business Objects Predictive Analysis on Apr 3, 2012, SAP will join the Likes of SAS Institute, IBM’s SPSS division and Oracle, as well a number of startups, such as Revolution Analytics, that are based on supporting R which are the base model for Predictive analytics products

Information Builders, Tibco Spotfire, IBM SPSS, SAS, and, most recently, Oracle have all embraced R, not to mention startups like Alpine Data Labs and Revolution Analytics that have built entire companies around the language.

Other Predictive Analytics products

Statisticians have worked on offline data files—whether SAS datasets or flat files–to analyze their data and build models.

Oracle Advanced Analytics that bundles Oracle R Enterprise, providing support for R models to be processed in the Oracle database.

SAS will push the processing into Teradata for processing, and now it supports in-database processing with Netezza, EMC Greenplum, DB2, and AsterData .

With the new SAP Business Objects Predictive Analysis, processing can be pushed into Hana, the vendor’s new in-memory appliance that includes its own statistical function library.

Other Predictive Analysis products gives an advanced data-visualization capabilities, which include scatter plots, cluster analyses, parallel-processing charts and other visualization options that have emerged in the big-data era.

Overview of SAP Business Objects Predictive Analytics

The whole goal of SAP is giving R open-source software an easier-to-use graphical user interface designed for SAP and SAP Business Objects customers for an easier-to-use graphical user interface, advanced visualizations & providing links to BI suites Also SAP Business Objects Predictive Analysis is designed to work with HANA in-memory technology, tapping into the same data sources and extending visualization and predictive capabilities into decision-support scenarios.

With the SAP Predictive Analysis, there is nice integration with the BI platform in that the tool can access a universe, either the version 3 format (.UNV) or the new version for format (.UNX). For example, the SAP Smart Meter Analytics uses clustering and segmentation algorithms on energy consumption.

Release strategy for SAP Business Objects Predictive Analytics

According to sources, SAP Business Objects Predictive Analysis is on a ramp-up mode for early-release testers OR it will be on an approach to release this production software to a limited number of customers. SAP has begun rolling out a series of specialized analytic applications that run on top of HANA, but also intends to have HANA support transactional workloads such as those generated by SAP’s core Business Suite ERP system.

End of the day, what we will see is a set of predictive algorithms and also allows the use of algorithms from the open-source R language for statistical analysis. This product is expected to be generally available later this year.

Target Audience

The target audience for Business Objects Predictive Analysis is line-of-business users and business analysts who want to slice and dice data and, using advanced visualization techniques, uncover business opportunities, insights and risks. Big Data and HANA are the two areas SAP Business Objects Predictive Analysis will focus.

Useful Links

SAP Predictive Analytics Consulting

SAP – Predicting the Future Out of a Pile of Data

R (programming language)

SAP Jumps On Predictive Analytics Bandwagon

Five Things You Need to Know About SAP’s Move in Predictive Analytics

SAP Goes After SAS, IBM With Predictive Analytics Software

Oracle Set to Update Analytics Strategy, Go After SAP Customers


It’s too early to say if this will have any impact on either ‘SAS’ or ‘ORACLE’ share in this space. However, it certainly will improve the capabilities of the analytic applications and will make SAP a natural addition to any customer’s short list new to predictive analysis.

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