Looking to make business intelligence and analytics more accessible to everyday users, SAP this week rolled out SAP Business Objects BI on Demand, a software-as-a-service amalgam of its existing BI solutions sporting a simplified workflow and tools.
The new SaaS offering is targeted at the underserved “casual user,” according to Marge Breya, executive vice president at SAP. Breya cited research that found only one in four people have access to BI tools, a penetration and adoption rate that SAP wants to increate to between 70-to-80 percent of users over the next several years.
“Smaller companies are very interested in getting a low cost of entry for getting a great analytical environment, and they also want a single relationship for their on-demand and on-premise offerings,” Breya said, adding that the changing economy has raised the appeal of subscription-based models for software delivery as customers pull way back on their capital expenditures.
The new integrated solution combines all the SaaS-based BI offerings that reside in the SAP BusinessObjects portfolio. The solution lets users access data from other SAP systems (including on-premises), third-party software such as salesforce.com and their own desktops, combine that data and use tools such as Business Objects Explore to visualize different versions of the date for analysis in dashboard or report form. The information can be shared securely – inside and outside the firewall — with other users, according to SAP.
Oco, a BI-focused SAP partner in Waltham, Mass., says the newly integrated SAP Business Objects BI on Demand presents a strong opportunity for the channel.
“From a partner perspective, we think for us and for other partners, this offers an opportunity for increased growth and market penetration,” said Anil Chitkara, senior vice president of market development at Oco.
Chitkara, whose company develops targeted analytics solutions for vertical industries such as transportation, says partners can cash in three ways: Tap into existing customers that want to expand their BI into everyday users in their organization; woo new accounts that want to try out BI but have been reticent to make the investment in the down economy; and build margin by creating value-added offerings and services on top of the platform.
Pricing is not yet released for the on-demand solution, though a personal user option is available free of charge. Subsequent subscription pricing will be based on a tiering system and will be “modest,” according to Breya.
SAP’s BI tools integration and simplified on-demand access arrive as a direct result of customer demand, Breya said. But the most differentiating feature of the new offering is not yet available. The company eventually says it will bake a customer feedback feature into its SaaS offering that will monitor and analyze customer usage trends and automatically update the platform to reflect the various individual use needs of customers.