Predictive analytics software: SAP or best-of-breed?

SAP officially became part of the predictive analytics landscape with the general release of SAP BusinessObjects Predictive Analytics last September.

While SAP has previously offered advanced analytical tools through partnerships with SPSS and other vendors, this marks the company’s first organically grown offering in what’s fast becoming a hot technology area.

With its new offering, SAP is competing with veteran players in this space, including IBM’s SPSS arm, SAS Institute, Information Builders and Oracle. It’s also competing with specialty “best-of-breed” vendors like Revolution Analytics, Alpine Data Labs, and Opera Solutions, among others.

“The need for predictive analytics has always been there; now technology has enabled us to step in”, said Charles Gadalla, SAP’s director of advanced analytics and solution management. He added that in-memory database technology and recent advances in parallel processing and CPU technology have made the new predictive analytics offering possible.

Companies that have specialized data modeling requirements may need to consider a competing vendor, according to experts. For example, some of the more established best-of-breed predictive analytics tools may have more specialized classification capabilities or more robust financial modeling features.

Analytics experts also advise companies to evaluate tools based on what algorithms are supported, ease of model development and where the models will be run. Organizations should also take some time to think about the skills they have in-house and the skills they want to invest in when trying to decide between SAP and the competition.

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