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SAP (news, site) announced that it is partnering with Google (news, site) to allow customers to create geographic visualizations of business information stored in SAP’s analytics software using Google Map, Earth and Street View.

Why Data Visualization is Important

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, a picture may be more valuable than a million rows of data for human data interpretation. As data sizes grow, quickly seeing trends becomes increasingly difficult. Overlaying the information on a map can make it easier to see trends like regional sales volume or customer complaint density by location without spending hours crunching numbers. The maps are also interactive and allow users to drill down to greater levels of detail to provide new insights and potentially new business opportunities.

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Location-based Data Visualization with SAP and Google Maps (source SAP)

Data visualization and infographics have long been available, but have only recently began to grow in popularity in enterprise environments as companies struggle with how to get value from their huge data stores. SAP is capitalizing on this trend and perhaps making its analytics software more attractive by offering a unique feature to customers. The partnership also merges the worlds of enterprise and consumer technology -- another trend that is expanding in many corporations.

Potential adopters could get significant value from the new capabilities by making data analysis a more user friendly endeavor that can be performed by non-specialist.

What the Google SAP Partnership Means

Existing SAP customers and industry watchers might be aware that SAP and Google worked together previously to allow customers to plot data on Google maps, but previous integrations leveraged the public Google Maps API. The new partnership allows customers access to 12 new APIs that provide increased flexibility, and provides deep discounts on Google’s geospatial data.

SAP will integrate Google’s API’s with Business Objects 4.1 first and then Sales OnDemand. Both integrations are scheduled for completion later this year. Other SAP products are targeted for integration with Google’s location APIs next year. SAP has not indicated if the new capabilities will be included in existing maintenance contracts or will require a separate fee.