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SAP undersells the value of self-service analytics - See more at: http://blogs.aberdeen.com/business-intelligence/sap-undersells-the-value-of-self-se
David White, Aberdeen Group
DEC 03, 2013 08:12 AM
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I was fortunate enough to attend SAPInsider last week.  SAP hosted a cozy analyst event and were kind enough to cover my expenses while I attended. The SAP attendees included Christian RodatusJames FisherJason RoseJayne Landry, Julien Sauvage and Susan Miller.   Keeping me company from the analyst community were Mary Jo NottBrian McDonough and Tony Cosentino.

As a recovering marketer myself, there is one thing in particular I appreciate about SAP’s analytics marketing team:  They’ve consistently stuck to the same key messages for some time now, over a year.  In my experience, many marketers don’t have the patience or the courage to do that.  But ultimately – assuming the message is a good one – persistence often pays off in the long run.

The keynote presentation was delivered by Christian, and the overarching theme was “Unleashing the power of collective insight”.  There are 3 key elements to this:

Enterprise BI – make all the enterprise data accessible to all employees

Visual data discovery (using SAP Lumira) to help employees gain insight.

More widespread use of predictive analytics

One phrase kept bubbling to the surface in both Christian’s keynote and other discussions throughout the day:  Self-service.  In some ways, the move towards self-service is self-evident.  For example, the use of visual data discovery tools such as Lumira is fundamentally about helping business users to be more self-sufficient in their use of analytics.

To be honest though, I think SAP can make more of the self-service message.  Quite simply, I think self-service underpins everything they are trying to achieve in analytics, and here’s why:

68% of the annual cost of a BI solution is in the cost of the IT staff that support it (A Simple Cost Justification for Self-Service Analytics).  Self-service slashes those support costs substantially – organizations with BI users that are self-sufficient spend $652 per user on support each year, compared to $1,106 per user at other organizations.

Because self-service reduces the per user cost of the solution, analytics can be spread to more employees throughout the company.  For instance, firms that use visual data discovery tools are able to get analytics into the hands of 48% more of their employees (Visualization: Set Your Analytics Users Free).  In this way, self-service is a driving force for SAP’s Enterprise BI (all of the data available to all employees).

Self-service analytics users are 23% more likely than others to find the information they need, when they need it – hence the need for visual data discovery tools.

As for predictive analytics, self-service is one of the keys to success there too.  Aberdeen’s research into predictive analytics for marketing (Towards Segments of One: Predictive Analytics for Marketing Delivers the Future of Offer Management, Today) shows that top-performers are more likely to have predictive models that can be used by business managers without statistical skills or knowledge.

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