IT Market Strategy recently sat down with Marge Breya, Executive Vice President & GM Intelligence Platform & NetWeaver of SAP BusinessObjects, to discuss the first full year of life within SAP after being acquired at the beginning of 2008. Breya oversees full product line responsibility for BI and information management solutions, as well as the company’s OnDemand business. In addition, Breya is responsible for solution management of SAP NetWeaver within the Technology Group at SAP AG. Prior to joining SAP via the Business Objects acquisition, Breya served in a number of executive roles at BEA Systems, where she was senior vice president (SVP), CMO, and chief strategy officer (CSO); and Sun Microsystems, where she served in various executive management roles. In this excerpt form our conversation, the discussion turned to how the BO portfolio and the SAP portfolio would combine for greater leverage.
You’re busy right now thinking about the developmental opportunities for how [your] portfolios work together.
We’ve got some early things coming out. For example, at the SAP Insider event [see http://bit.ly/lqjRz for IT Market Strategy comments on that event] we showed the combination of Business Warehouse Accelerator (BWA) and Polestar – that’s a good combination of “in-memory platform meets analytical tool,” where 1+1 =3 for the user. You get a Google Earth-like approach to massive amounts of data.
The way that BI products will exploit BWA has multiple flavors. There are differences in the way SAP Business Objects integrates with BWA versus everyone else.
I’m not sure we’ve talked about how other companies will get access to BWA at all, yet, publicly. The open accelerator technology – the TREX technology – is not currently embedded in SAP BW. It is a columnar optimization and a calculation engine that lets you do pretty aggressive compression on data. As a result, the resulting performance is much different from relational environments, and doesn’t require the setups and aggregate building you have to manage even in an OLAP environment.
Today’s BWA users are only using it with SAP data. And with SAP’s BW offering, usage for non-SAP data is still minimal. Now along comes Business Objects with a much broader remit: help customers make decisions on all their data. So this fairly formidable asset of yours still has a wall around it. Where do you see yourself going in broadening that asset? I would imagine that you want to see a bigger target market.
Let’s tease apart the warehouse and accelerator technology. We have relationships with Oracle, IBM, and others. We’ll soon be announcing connectivity to BW, for analytical stores, etc. And we’re broadening those relationships. That’s important because we want to work well with all large enterprise data warehouse (EDW) vendors.
Does that mean BW becomes “more federatable”?
Yes, it will be able to play a supporting role. Some people use BW as their EDW, but we want to make sure that it’s also a first class citizen in any EDW strategy. On the other side, coming from a semiconductor background, I feel strongly that an in-memory analytics engine can be a digital signal processor (DSP) for the kinds of calculations that customers will need to do. There is a broad range of acceleration technology we can bring to market. That technology needs to be applied to any data source on the face of the planet.