SAP has announced 10 business analytics applications for vertical industries including consumer packaged goods (CPG), retail, banking, healthcare, the public sector and telecommunications. It also plans to release new ones on a quarterly basis along with updates. These new applications, based on SAP's own development efforts and the applications it acquired with Business Objects, integrate the company's business intelligence (BI) platform and tools with analytic models and metrics packaged for the particular needs of an industry. These applications require on-premises installation with the help of IT and consultants to ensure proper configuration and deployment. They have a dashboard-like approach that includes navigation, selection and presentation components that have reporting, analysis or planning functionality, but usually not all three. For example, planning and consolidation is the focus for applications in banking, healthcare and the public sector, and analysis is the main theme in CPG, retail and telecommunications. These applications operate independently of other analytic applications that have been part of SAP's industry and business applications for more than 15 years. For example, SAP's established telecommunications industry solutions have specific market analytics that differ from the new customer retention analytics available in the packaged application. Eventually SAP will have to align all its analytics efforts, perhaps in its SAP Business Maps, to make it all easier to track and to assess.
These packages will help SAP compete against IBM and Oracle in vertical industries, but SAP does not yet offer in standalone form analytics-focused applications that cross lines of business such as sales, operations, marketing, contact center and customer management. Perhaps over time these applications will become more than just analytics or analytics combined with planning; that is the same approach that IBM and Oracle take. SAP did not show a roadmap for when they will be available in hosted form or software as a service (SaaS) as is the case for its SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand. However, SAP is working with Hewlett-Packard (HP) to provide the applications in these deployment modes, which have grown rapidly as business users seek to shorten the time it takes to deploy new business technology. This could be an important alliance for HP, which has had little market success with Neoview, its analytical offering, and its consulting-heavy approach to analytical solutions. SAP has raised the competitive bar in analytics applications; now it must build credibility and loyalty among business customers, who have been diversifying to smaller, more tightly focused providers for their specific business needs instead of waiting for IT to address them.