SAP Hail Storm Unveils 5-Pillar Strategy for Windows 8, Analytics and More

SAP is organizing its BI strategy around the five trends that are shaping IT today: mobile, cloud, analytics, social media, and self-service technologies. The company addressed four of these five subjects with a hail of product announcements in the past couple of days.

Firstly, the business software maker launched six applications for Windows 8 devices. One of these apps, SAP WorkDeck, is brand new.  The company describes it as a dashboarding tool for a manager that aggregates information from different sources and makes it accessible from a single pane of glass.

The remaining five applications that support Windows are Manager Insight, Interview Assistant, Learning Assistant Customer Financial Fact Sheet and GRC Policy Survey.

SAP saved up a couple other updates for the Tech Ed and Sapphire conferences held in Madrid this week. In the cloud department it introduced Financials OnDemand, a hosted reporting platform that is very similar to WorkDeck. The big difference lies under the hood: OnDemand is based on HANA, SAP’s in-memory analytics engine.

The service, provides a cloud-based alternative to the company’s on-premise SAP Financials software. It is particularly suited to larger companies that run SAP Financials on-premise, but have subsidiaries that rely on different legacy financial software.

The technology that powers Financials OnDemand is about to get even better, thanks the upcoming service pack stack 5 SAP revealed yesterday.  SPS5 includes several major improvements, including compatibility with SAP’s widely-used ERP system and a read-optimized column store that will allow more applications to leverage the database solution.

SPS5 also includes enhanced text analytics that will allow companies to get more accurate reads from social media reactions. This functionality is joined by more library functions and new server-side capabilities designed to simplify large-scale deployment.