SAP Eyes Wider Market With Real-Time Business Analytics Software

SAP AG, the world’s largest maker of business applications, said an update of its data-analysis software will broaden its customer base and provide more revenue potential.

SAP is currently shipping to some customers the fourth version of programs from BusinessObjects, the company it bought for $6.8 billion in 2008. The edition, which will be released generally in May, will be introduced at an event in New York tomorrow. The software has a more user-friendly design and can integrate and analyze data from multiple sources.

“There’s a lot of pent-up demand,” said Dave Weisbeck, senior vice president for SAP’s solution management, business intelligence and enterprise-information management. The software can run on smartphones and tablet computers, opening it to new users who want to analyze data from their own operations or from social media comments on the Web, he said.

Within companies that have SAP’s business-intelligence software, probably only about 10 percent to 15 percent of employees actually use it. The ability to use the analytics tool on mobile devices will make it more widely accepted, Weisbeck said in an interview. SAP, based in Walldorf, Germany, competes with Oracle Corp., International Business Machines Corp., EMC Corp., and Teradata Corp. in the data-analysis sofware market.

SAP gained 41 cents to 43.72 euros today in Frankfurt trading.

IPad, Android

Sanjay Poonen, president of SAP’s Solutions Go-to-Market, said that BusinessObjects 4.0 will be included in the annual software maintenance fees for customers using BusinessObjects 3.0.

In December, SAP delivered “in-memory” database software called Hana that can hold hundreds of millions of database records. For example, the program can store years’ worth of sales data in a computer’s memory, instead of retrieving it from disk drives. SAP is working with companies including Hewlett- Packard Co. and IBM to sell server computers with the Hana software installed.

A company with about 100,000 employees will probably have to pay in the single-digit millions of dollars to get the in- memory technology with BusinessObjects 4.0, Poonen said in an interview. “A larger deployment onto mobile devices is another seven figures,” he said.

The software will be available on various mobile devices including Apple Inc.’s iPad, and will support mobile-operating systems including Google Inc.’s Android and Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Phone 7. SAP won’t immediately deliver a version for HP’s WebOS operating system.

“We’re going to go where the market share is pushing us,” Poonen said.

Important, Incremental

The release is a first step for in-memory technology, which lets users access and analyze data in real time, Poonen and Weisbeck said. In the future, it will be available as a database that underpins SAP’s Business By Design software, which users can access over the Web.

Frank Niemann, a consultant for Pierre Audoin Consultants in Munich, said SAP customers have been waiting for the software to be better integrated with SAP programs.

“It’s an important, if incremental, update,” Niemann said. He doesn’t anticipate the product will “storm the market.”

Co-Chief Executive Officer Bill McDermott said in January that the company outpaced the competition in business analytics and snared 200 customers from rivals in the fourth quarter.

SAP said last month that operating profit will rise as much as 16 percent this year to between 4.45 billion euros ($6.1 billion) and 4.65 billion euros this year from 4 billion euros in 2010. Software and related-services sales will climb 10 percent to 14 percent from 9.87 billion euros. Both forecasts are based on constant currencies.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ragnhild Kjetland in Frankfurt at rkjetland@bloomberg.net; Aaron Ricadela in San Francisco at aricadela@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vidya Root at vroot@bloomberg.net; Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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