By Jayne Landry, global vice president and general manager of SAP business intelligence, @jaynelandry

42-47254170-LumiraThe world has changed dramatically when it comes to the way we collect and consume information. The amount of data in the world is exploding and people expect to have information at their fingertips –whenever and wherever we need it.  For businesses, knowing what happened is no longer enough, we need to understand why it happened, what will happen next and even is the best possible outcome. We need everyone within an organization to be able to contribute their knowledge and we need to empower them to benefit from that collective insight. This insight can be unlocked and allow businesses to transform themselves into agile enterprises that have the ability to understand customers, suppliers, products and markets and rapidly capitalize on new opportunities.

SAP’s vision for collective insight includes three key areas of technology innovation including enterprise BI, agile visualization, and advanced analytics. These three technology pillars enable organizations to engage with data across the enterprise, visualize information in compelling ways to share insight and tell stories with data, and predict outcomes of what could happen.  These technologies are already helping organizations like Daimler Trucks, the State of Indiana, and Vodafone.

A Simplified Approach for Enterprise BI

We recently delivered an #askSAP community webcast that provided the details around the convergence of the SAP BI portfolio. Namely, how and when this will happen. We also shared information on the SAP technology platform strategy and cover the topic of Trusted Data Discovery; bringing together enterprise BI and agile visualization to deliver agility with trust for end users.

Many SAP customers have deployed the SAP BusinessObjects BI platform throughout their organization to support enterprise BI projects and give users the power to engage with all their data, on any device, across any platform, in real time. We plan to continue to deliver innovations in the BI platform, and just last week announced plans for SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2. With the next release we plan to focus on making the BI platform simpler and easier to deploy and manage than ever before, leverage the security and scalability of the BI platform to bring trust and governance to the world of agile visualization, and continue to be open with broad platform support, customizations and extensions. We aim to facilitate the adoption of these innovations without disruption to existing landscapes, enable customers to leverage their previous investments and lower the total cost of ownership.

SAP is a market-leader in Business Intelligence because our solution is open, agnostic and provides support for over 140 data sources – more than ever before, including new and emerging technologies like Hadoop, Hive, and NoSQL. Today, SAP HANA allows organizations to achieve a scale and performance that couldn’t be reached in the past. If you have heard rumors that the next version of the BI Platform will require SAP HANA then I’d like to set the record straight – this is NOT true. With BI 4.2 we will continue to be open and agnostic, we will continue to expand platform support, and we will enable customers to take advantage of the full power of SAP HANA as and when they need it.

Addressing a need for Agility and Trust

One of the market gaps recognized by Gartner is a rise of data discovery solutions independent of an enterprise BI solution. We see an opportunity to bring data discovery together with the trust of enterprise BI to provide agility for business analysts, instant insight for decisions makers while maintaining scale and security for IT.

Trusted data discovery is a key area that we intend to further innovate with new options for SAP customers to share trusted content. We plan for SAP Lumira documents to become first-class citizens in the SAP BusinessObjects BI platform, this means they can be secured and scheduled, made available to just an individual or promoted to the organization as appropriate, and existing data access rights are respected. When SAP Lumira is integrated with the BI platform the experience can be tailored to the needs of users with the ability to customize authoring, editing and viewing capabilities, manage sharing capabilities, and administer the timing of updates.

We recently announced plans for the SAP Lumira “team” server, a new solution designed to meet the needs of a small department, line of business or mid-market organization. Branded as SAP Lumira, Edge edition, this new solution is planned to include a lightweight in-memory engine that can be deployed in a matter of minutes on the hardware you have today. In the future we plan to have SAP Lumira, Edge edition recognize and connect to an existing SAP BusinessObjects BI enterprise deployment, as well as  provide the ability to swap out the light-weight in-memory engine with the full power of SAP HANA as business needs grow.

Shift your Focus to the Future

Many business intelligence solutions focus on what has happened, which is kind of like driving a car looking in the rear view mirror. Moving forward BI solutions need to help organizations look through the windshield in order to understand what lies ahead and what will happen next.  This has traditionally been the realm of predictive analytics and in the hands of a few data scientists within an organization (if you are lucky enough to find a data scientist!). But we see a future where we can bring predictive capabilities to everyone in an organization in a way that will make sense to them. We’ve started today in SAP Lumira with the concept of visual discoveries, where you can click a light-bulb icon and instantly see visualizations and points of interest in your data. There are predictive algorithms under the covers but it’s completely intuitive for a business user.  You’re literally a mouse click away from uncovering your inner genius.

I encourage you to watch the BI strategy and direction webcast recording and learn more about SAP’s vision for collective insight.