The mere mention of yet another analytics cloud is reason enough to hit the snooze button, three times. After all, between BI, Planning, predictive and advanced analytics, we’re up to our ears in not only analytical promises, but also in vendor offerings

And with everyone suddenly throwing their solutions up into the cloud, it seems like we might be taking the mess we made on earth and lobbing it into the heavens. Like that’s going to put an end to silos or make anything better.

So when SAP told us they were unveiling their own analytics cloud you can imagine our reaction. But here’s the deal, they’ve actually done something worth talking about.

SAP’s Solution

SAP just took the covers off of Project SAP ORCA, which took on the challenge of building a user-centric analytics experience that delivers all analytics, to all users, through a single continuous real time solution.

From an end user’s perspective, the aim is to make it simple for managers, at every level, to make data driven decisions while eliminating the need to work with point solutions for things like data blending, visualization, business intelligence and such.

Jayne Landry
Project ORCA morphed to the SAP Analytics Cloud this week. It’s a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution that works with both cloud and on-premises data and aims to provide business intelligence (BI), planning and predictive analytics through a single user experience (UX). It surfaces data from multiple stores both in the cloud and on-premises from behind the scene.

“The intent is to make it simple for decision makers to get data driven answers to questions like ‘What happened?’ ‘What’s happening?’ and ‘What will happen?’ from one place,” according to Jayne Landry, Global VP and GM, Business Intelligence, SAP.

The End of Silos?

What this could mean to SAP customers is an end of data silos, which continue to be built on-premises and, now, in the cloud.

The other notable wins SAP’s Analytics Cloud can deliver, according to Dan Vesset, Program VP, Business Analytics and Information Management at IDC is a modern UI, an ability to make seamless transitions, and to discover powerful insights via the super-fast, in-memory HANA Cloud platform.

While the SAP Analytics Cloud will leverage SAP HANA as a rule, users of other SAP solutions will have the added benefit of transactional data informing analytics in real time, or in other words, “real real-time intelligence” as Vesset calls it.

SAP’s Analytics Cloud already connects with Ariba, Success Factors and Concur and can be embedded into other solutions like Google Docs and Google Sheets.

It’s worth noting that while the name, SAP Analytics Cloud, might suggest, to some, that a customer’s data needs to live in the cloud, that is not the case.

“It (the SAP Analytics Cloud) can leverage data wherever it happens to be,” said Landry. She added that as much as 90 per cent of Enterprise data still lives on premise.

It’s About the Analytics Behind the Viz

BI dashboards get friendlier and better looking every day, but it’s the usefulness the data and the analytics behind them that counts. SAP HANA Cloud platform users might benefit not only from friendly UI’s geared for users ranging from the C-Suite, to the consumer, to the data scientist but also from real time data and analytics that continuously update themselves.

When SAP took a hard look at its analytics portfolio a few years ago, they discovered that they had a plethora of best in class enterprise and point solutions. What they didn’t have is a simple and cohesive way to leverage the best of them, especially all at once.

So it’s notable that they set aside the fact that Gartner and Forrester rated their various BI and Analytics products in Leader positions and went along with SAP’s corporate mission to “Run Simple”. The SAP Analytics Cloud is the result.

Pricing is yet to come.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by DrTH80.