October 28, 2009 -- Enterprise application provider SAP rolled out the latest version of its Business Object Explorer software in announcements and demonstrations for analysts and reporters from its TechEd conference under way in Vienna.

Explorer is visualization and search software that lets users scan large data files and create intuitive paths to results. Like the first, the second wave of Explorer is a hardware appliance -based device that can now access and explore data sources beyond the SAP Netweaver Business Warehouse (BW), and is already in use by customers including Kraft Foods, Orasure and Molson-Coors.

While BW is a primary source of data is supported on the Netweaver stack, in-memory acceleration and the Explorer front end no longer requires the BW stack. "In the new release a product called DataIntegrator will be embedded in a way that our customers can use that with BWA to bring in all these non-SAP sources," says George Mathew, VP and GM for SAP Business Objects Explorer. In future versions, Business Warehouse Accelerator will be primarily used as a persistence layer and data source for all sources of data.

SAP also announced a partnership with Teradata and a new blade architecture for running SAP's Business Warehouse Accelerator along with Explorer.

In a demonstration with a fictional use case of an auto broker looking into acquisitions of other dealers, SAP tapped 85 million lines of code from a Teradata data warehouse to explore costs, revenues and commissions among dealers and brokers on a regional display that employed bar graphs and tag clouds. The demonstration showed the user adding and deleting dimensions, and the ability to enter custom calculations, such as sales divided by commissions as the process continued.

"It highlights the last search you've done and organizes the information so that's the first thing that shows up. it builds the visualization you're most likely to be looking for," Mathew. "The message is that Explorer works as simply with an Excel spreadsheet as it does with an enterprise data warehouse because we're targeting Explorer to be mass adopted."

Daryl McDonald, chief marketing officer at Teradata, says his customers want reporting and what-if analysis without having to wait for IT to deliver it. "Right now it's about leveraging the tool against data, says McDonald. "In the future we'll look at industry-specific capabilities and we'll see a library of things that can be built using this tool."

An example cited by McDonald is trade-promotion effectiveness and the ability to find discrepancies and validate and determine allocations in an agreement over an extended period of time.

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