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Analytics: Key Trends for 2013

Business analytics has evolved dramatically from its humble beginningsin core data warehousing more than 30 years ago. It has evolved from simple decision support solutions, to advancements in business intelligence (BI), enterprise performance management (EPM), and, most recently, intelligent data concepts and predictive analytic applications. Companies have embraced the value of analytics – solutions that combine data and analysis to drive insights – to help them differentiate, become more competitive, and make better business decisions. Today, at the forefront of analytics, SAP helps develop and bring to market the latest technology innovations while keeping a close watch on emerging trends.

A Pervasive Culture of Analytics

Almost everyone in your company can benefit from some form of analytics. Employees want to make their jobs easier – and you want them making betterd decisions. In the past, powerful analytic tools were reserved for a select few who had mastered data manipulation and reporting. Such data gurus were the only ones who could build the complex models required – making them de facto gatekeepers. Today, however, technology puts powerful models and endless data sources into more hands, supporting better decisions from the shop floor to the C-level suites. 

Thanks to advancements in cloud and mobile technologies, analytics are now available everywhere from your basic laptop to the latest smart device – and from client sites to buyer meetings to airport dinners. Mobile access puts near-real-time analytics at the fingertips of all employees, all the time. KPIs were once watched monthly, quarterly, or annually; real-time analytics now enable daily analysis of emerging trends. And exception reports identify areas in need of change, from the monthly financial close to the highest-level corporate KPIs. 

No Data Off Limits

It takes little time for an organization to amass a large historical database. Until recently, translating database data structures into meaningful analytics was time consuming and difficult; analytic solutions simply eliminated much of the detail in exchange for a timely analysis of summary data. Find a variance, and you’d have to engage a team of experts to dive into the details. 

With in-memory computing, however, data volume and level of detail are no longer limiting factors. Every piece of data can be used, generating richer, more meaningful analysis. Users quickly find meaningful information within the analytic system. And analysis of big data lets companies skimp on neither volume (important for establishing trends) nor detail (important for investigating variances). Intelligent data also makes it possible to analyze social media, incorporating and analyzing unstructured data such as customer product reviews, satisfaction surveys, and Facebook posts. 

Getting Sophisticated Just Got Easier

Now that sophisticated analytic capabilities no longer have to be built from scratch, both business users and IT departments benefit.


  • More frequent modeling. In the past, running and modeling multiple simulations was difficult and time consuming, limiting the number of scenarios that could be run. Today, in-memory computing advances allow nearly unlimited simulations. Scenarios can be run as often as needed to update forecasts or provide input into planning processes.  And predictive capabilities let you model multiple scenarios to forecast performance or recalculate enterprise risk.   

  • Faster to deploy without customization. New technologies such as cloud and mobile solutions let IT is able to lower the cost of ownership and deployment while providing more powerful tools to business users. Cloud-based solutions make it easy to deploy flexible numbers of users and licenses, reducing total cost of ownership (TCO).  Mobile solutions mean that analytic applications can be pushed out to more users even as they travel or work in the field. In-memory computing lets IT capture and store massive amounts of highly detailed data, make it available to any user, and easily access it for later analysis. Together, cloud, mobile, and in-memory technologies dramatically enhance the capabilities of analytic solutions. Powerful functionality can be quickly deployed, includes more compelling data, and doesn’t require months of customization.


Learn More

To find out more about how analytics services from SAP can help your company develop a customized roadmap that supports adoption of new technologies
over time and unlocks the business value of analytics, please visit our sessions at SAP Financials Insider 2013 in Las Vegas March 18-22.  Our sessions will include how to maximize forecast accuracy with SAP BPC on HANA, and managing financial performance to improve your bottom line.  Also, please
visit us online

How have these trends in Analytics impacted your organization recently?

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