I think a lot of people were surprised by SAP’s early announcement of a new analytics platform – SAP Cloud for Analytics – at the end of last year.
With BusinessObjects remaining the most widely used BI platform in the world and the incredible amount of investment made in the last 5 years into new analytics tools for HANA (Lumira, Visual Design Studio and Predictive Analytics), the last thing I expected to see from SAP was yet another analytics offering.
Yet, in reflection, it does make some sense. SAP has invested billions of dollars in buying cloud based application vendors like Success Factors, Ariba and Concur and they are determined to be the leader in cloud based applications so it would be logical to have a strong cloud based analytics offering as well.
So why not take their new analytics tools for HANA and make them all cloud based?
In fact there was a cloud based offering for Lumira but that seems to have disappeared. We can only speculate that the new analytics tools have struggled to gain any serious market share in an already overcrowded space and there are no indications that will change anytime soon.
However, building a new analytics platform and toolset for the cloud from the ground up is also both ambitious and risky and SAP has no real track record in this arena.
So when I heard that SAP had acquired Mellmo and their Roambi solution a couple of weeks ago, it started to make a bit more sense. Roambi is already a popular and mature mobile BI solution with incredible visualizations and many cloud subscribers. It also can be deployed on premise. It has a great selection of different views designed both for iOS and now Android and PC (using Chrome). Dashboard and visual applications can be created rapidly by end-users (no programming) and it can take Crystal Reports and Web Intelligence reports as input and integrates with BusinessObjects as well as Cognos, OBIE, Microsoft BI and a host of other BI solutions. It can also integrate with HANA. It offers offline capability on mobile devices as well as integration with native mobile applications for annotation and email.
All in all, it is a comprehensive and well-rounded solution and we should expect nothing less from the same visionaries and development team that created Xcelsius.
So now the big question is will Roambi be able to make SAP Cloud for Analytics a serious contender in the cloud analytics space? If they let the Roambi visionaries drive the strategy and direction, I think they have a good chance. Let’s see.
Photo Credit: Mellmo