SAP HANA Now Helping Analyze Social Sentiment

Astute data analysis can mean the difference between empty shopping carts, and those full of a company’s products.

SAP’s new platform for sentiment intelligence with SAP HANA is meant to help company executives with the trickiest of processes: using collected data to gain insight into consumer sentiment and market trends, two notoriously fickle business areas.

The platform leverages data from a variety of Internet and intranet sources, including social-networking sites, company Websites, blogs, wikis, and CRMs. That data undergoes a semantic analysis using SAP Data Services software’s text-data processing capabilities. After that, analysts and executives can leverage SAP HANA, the company’s in-memory database technology, as well as SAP BusinessObjects Explorer software to visualize and mine that data for further insights.

The results can be aligned with structured data from SAP’s Customer Relationship Management application for a look into how well, say, a sales and marketing campaign is performing with regard to consumer sentiment. Analysts can also use the toolbox to project sales and marketing trends, for example, or align a sales campaign with customers’ opinions.

“Mining unstructured data can provide a direct path to understanding how customers are responding to products, brands and overall company values,” Shawn Rogers, vice president of research for consulting firm Enterprise Management Associates, wrote in an Aug. 1 statement attached to SAP’s release.

“As the amount of unstructured data—especially from social media sources—continues to grow, companies have the opportunity to really understand their customers if the information is captured and analyzed effectively,” he added.

SAP boasts a strong position in the B.I. market. Research firm Gartner named it the top B.I., analytics and performance-management (PM) software vendor in 2011, ahead of Oracle and Microsoft. However, the increased enthusiasm among businesses for data-analytics and business-intelligence software is at once a gift and a curse: while it opens up new opportunities for SAP products, that enthusiasm has sparked a series of robust B.I. offerings from the likes of Oracle and Microsoft, which have giant customer bases and lots of time and money for developing new products.


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