February 24, 2010 – SAP AG today announced the release of SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand, a new integrated, software as a service, business intelligence toolset.

The suite allows users to access and visually navigate data from any source, from on-demand to on-premise and in the cloud. That data can be combined with other data sets for reporting and analysis.

SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand allows users to conduct personal analytics using ad hoc or formatted queries and create personalized dashboards, according to the company release.

Data visualizations can be shared internally or externally with the option to email or share them through an embedded function. David Meyer, VP of emerging technologies for SAP, describes the capability as “as easy to embed into your platform as a YouTube video.” Virtual representations of data have predetermined viewing options, providing representations of data – depending on selected security settings – that are static, explored or modified.

Forrester Research analyst Boris Evelson describes SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand as a first of a kind entry into what he defines as BI SaaS from a large vendor.  “Pretty much every vendor says ‘we host BI,’ but hosting doesn’t equal BI as a service. And providing a virtual cloud is not SaaS.”

For Evelson, BI SaaS is defined by a simple payment resulting – instantly – in a fully-functional BI SaaS environment, and he says that SAP AG is the only large vendor that can claim that ability. “There are a plethora of small vendors doing this, but BusinessObjects is the first vendor to do it.”

Dan Vesset, program vice president of business analytics for market research firm IDC says that most of the large vendors have some offering, but this is a tool that requires almost not training and one that is piggy backing a small but rapidly growing segment of the business analytics software market.

Current market trends demonstrate strong growth for SaaS BI. Over the next five years the market is expect to grow three times a quickly as the total business analytics software market, with an annual growth rate of 22.4 percent through 2013, according to a January report from IDC.

Though Evelson does not anticipate a rush to replace traditional BI applications with SaaS alternatives, he cites two reasons for growth. “First, the lightning speed with which business, regulatory and globalization requirements change can no longer be supported by traditional, often less-than-agile BI architectures,” he said. “Second, the availability of relational database management systems in public clouds will make it easier for vendors, IT architects and application designers to move their own BI apps into the cloud.”

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