SAP, Oracle Gearing Up for Analytics Battle

SAP has jumped into the deep end of the predictive-modeling pool with SAP BusinessObjects Predictive Analysis software. The new offering can operate as a standalone module or in conjunction with the SAP HANA database’s data-mining and statistical function library. It also features an advanced visualization capability, for pretty pictures of Big Data.

“There is a lot of untapped insight that could be exposed from exploding internal and external, structured and unstructured data sources,” Dan Vesset, vice president of Business Analytics solutions for research firm IDC, wrote in an April 3 note included with the SAP announcement. “Predictive capabilities help businesses explore and identify the opportunities and risks hiding in the sea of all that big data.”

SAP's B.I. efforts are pushing back against Oracle and other enterprise companies in the space.

But SAP faces some fierce (and growing) competition in the analytics space. At April’s Oracle OpenWorld Tokyo 2012, Oracle president Mark Hurd and other executives talked about how their company will push forward with its suite of analytics solutions, which includes more than 80 business-intelligence and performance-management applications.

At that event, Oracle announced the latest release of Oracle Hyperion Enterprise Management (11.1.2.2), a pair of new business intelligence applications (Oracle Manufacturing Analytics and Oracle Enterprise Asset Management Analytics), general availability of Oracle Endeca Information Discovery, and a handful of analytic applications for—wait for it—SAP.

According to recent research from Gartner, the worldwide market for business intelligence and analytics software increased to $12.2 billion in 2011, up 16.4 percent from $10.5 billion in 2010. That growth, suggested analyst Dan Sommer in an April 2 note accompanying the data, is due to two factors.

“The first is that IT continues to spend and earmark money to BI, despite constrained budgetary environments,” he wrote. “Second, new buying centers are opening and expanding outside of IT, in line-of-business initiatives, and taking an increasingly large stake of the spending pie.” Self-service data discovery tools, he added, are a key driver of this trend. Growth among the various sub-segments of the market (CPM suites, B.I. platform, analytic applications and performance management) remained fairly even.

In Gartner’s estimation, SAP stood as the top B.I., analytics and performance-management (PM) software vendor in 2011, with 23.6 percent market-share based on revenue. Oracle came in second, with 15.6 percent, followed by SAS Institute with 12.6 percent, IBM with 12.1 percent, Microsoft with 8.7 percent, and “Other Vendors” with 27.5 percent. All those companies enjoyed growth between 2010 and 2011.

“This goes to show that clients prefer a balanced approach to sourcing, across a portfolio of technologies, rather than focusing on just one segment,” Sommer wrote. “It’s not a build or buy decision; it’s both.”

But with no company enjoying a significant breakout over the others, and all competitors in the space dedicated to improving their portfolios with ever-more-robust products, you don’t need advanced visualization to see that B.I.-related rivalries are going to get a lot more intense in coming quarters.

Image: SAP

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