Tapping Big Data: SAP Launches Predictive Analysis Toolset


SAP is expanding its business intelligence application offerings with new predictive analysis software that helps businesses tap into big data.

The SAP BusinessObjects Predictive Analysis package includes predictive analysis algorithms, and development and visualization tools for building predictive data models used by analytical applications. SAP is making the software available to select customers now with general availability expected in September.

Predictive analysis tools use statistical techniques to spot trends and make predictions about future events. Marketers, for example, can analyze retail data to improve sales forecasts while financial services companies can use predictive analysis to spot fraudulent transactions.

[Related: SAP Develops Channel-Only Big Data Systems For SMEs]

Big data, the growing volume of structured and unstructured data business are collecting today, is providing businesses with more opportunities to mine that information for valuable insights, said Jason Kuo, group solution marketing manager for SAP BusinessObjects, in an interview.

While SAP BusinessObjects Predictive Analysis can be used as a stand-alone toolset, it also can be used in conjunction with the rest of the BusinessObjects platform to deliver predictive analysis results through reports and dashboards to a broad range of users, Kuo said. It also can be integrated with SAP's HANA in-memory database, which accelerates processing speeds for large volumes of data.

"We think the most common [usage] scenarios will be with HANA and the [BusinessObjects] business intelligence platform," Kuo said. SAP, in fact, plans to offer a package combining the predictive analysis software licenses and HANA licenses.

While SAP is offering the predictive analysis product through its direct sales force, the vendor also will rely on its channel partners to develop custom analytical applications and predictive analysis software for vertical industries. "Partners are a critical part of creating applications that use HANA and these predictive analysis capabilities," Kuo said.

The new software will compete against predictive analysis products from IBM, SAS Institute and other vendors in the business intelligence arena.