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As we announced today via SAP Newsbyte, irfan.khan and I are delighted to welcome Simone di Somma, Giuseppe Ancona and the Askdata team to the SAP HANA Database & Analytics family. We are extremely excited by the technology they have developed over the last eight years and look forward to integrating it into SAP Analytics Cloud.

l take this opportunity to explain why Askdata and SAP are a perfect fit and talk through some of our future plans.

Why invest in Search Driven Analytics?

According to Gartner®, "by 2025, 60% of analytics activities will be initiated and 30% will be completed entirely within digital workplace applications."* We agree with this and feel it has deep implications for the way analytics will be consumed:

  • An end user who interacts with data casually within a business application or from within Slack or Teams will not build a dashboard. They will expect to ask a question and get a response without ever leaving their current context.  We need to rethink data interaction to facilitate this including improved natural language processing in analytics contexts, simplified data interactions and new ways for information workers to collaborate with each other and with data.

  • Dashboards and reports will be augmented rather than replaced by search. By reducing the cost and effort to find information, search driven analytics will expand the the overall reach of analytics to a larger user base and increase the level of interaction between information workers and data. This in turn will increase the volume of business decisions initiated and supported by data.

  • The 30% gap between activities initiated and completed will require collaboration with experts and access to more sophisticated tools.  These will include ad-hoc analytics to enable slicing and dicing, deep excel integration, stories, self service data preparation and modelling,  The transition from simple to sophisticated needs to be seemless.

By solving these challenges we will help our customers to leverage data in all decision making.

So why Askdata?
The Askdata team spent the last 8 years focussed on applying AI & Machine Learning to Analytics. During this time, they adapted their technology to a wide range of real world customer use cases and business contexts.  They also constantly adapted the latest in machine learning concepts to refine and improve the results they deliver to end users. SAP plans to leverage this in the following ways:

  1. Askdata has built an end-to-end solution for search driven analytics including:

    • a wide variety of ML models solving search related problems across the analytics problem space including entity recognition to identify the right data, natural language translation to understand the question & support for complex queries corresponding to the type of questions humans ask.

    • Datacards which understands user preferences delivering a mix of simple insights, natural language summaries, natural language insights and personalized results.

    • Feeds to enable users to build up their own watchlists of key insights they want to follow, collaborate with their co-workers when they find something interesting or reach out to experts when they need help.

  2. Askdata is built to be API 1st on live data making it easy to integrate in a variety of contexts.  Here are some of the ways we intend to use this

    • We will extend SAP Analytics Cloud’s existing “Search to Insight” capabilities to include new functionality with enhanced support for live data in SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, SAP HANA Cloud, SAP HANA and SAP BW.

    • We will enhance the solution we deliver in SAP Line of Business applications including  SAP S/4HANA, SuccessFactors and SAP Integrated Business Planning with components designed to fulfil specific use cases including:

      • Search driven analytics to ask data questions in natural language.

      • Ad-hoc analytics to quickly slice and dice across dimensions and measures.

      • Embedded story content which delivers a full picture for a single use case including formatting, filtering and content controls.

  3. We can then extend the business value with more sophisticated use cases including:

    • Business content which brings together SAP and non-SAP data into one complete real time picture of the current state of your business.

    • Deliver trusted insights to broader populations of employees to improve decision making while maintaining semantic context, security and governance.

    • Leverage the deep integration with planning to make better decisions including Workforce Planning, Financial Planning & Spend Management.

    • Use SAP Analytics Cloud API’s for composable analytics applications built within SAP Analytics Cloud designer and with 3rd party/open source frameworks.

  4. This business value increases when combined with SAP Data Warehouse Cloud semantic layer and data integration while scaling to the largest use cases with SAP HANA Cloud elasticity and performance.  We also remain deeply committed to supporting live and hybrid data to protect the continued investments customers make in SAP BW & SAP HANA.

Askdata’s focus on Live Data, API’s and Machine Learning strongly aligns with SAP's existing Data & Analytics strategy. We are very excited to share this news today and look forward to rolling out features powered by their technology to our customers.  Stay tuned 🙂

For more information on SAP Analytics Cloud please go to our SAP Analytics Cloud community page

*Gartner, Predicts 2022: Analytics, BI and Data Science Ecosystems Drive New Perspectives, December 2021. GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.