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February 19, 2016updated 31 Aug 2016 5:10pm

SAP UI set for a makeover while Apache Spark jolts analytics into life

News: Acquisition of assets from Roambi could revamp user interface.

By James Nunns

SAP has acquired assets from Roambi, a data visualisation provider, as it looks to update its user interfaces.

The mobile business data visualisation provider offers an iOS application that converts business data into interactive graphics. SAP made the acquisition at around the same time as saying that its SAP Predictive Analytics 2.5 software has added Apache Spark support.

Apache Spark, which has been called, "potentially the most important new open source project in a decade that is being defined by data," by IBM, is a significant play for the company.

Spark is growing in popularity, quickly becoming the most popular platform in Hadoop and, with its native integration, means that customers won’t be required to move data back and forth.

The Roambi deal follows a similar move by Salesforce last year which re-designed its own UI with Lightning. Lightning, an HTML5 architecture, lets data update on the browser update in real-time, previously users had to refresh the page for updates.

Roambi’s back end connects to Excel, SQL Server, Cognos, Box, Salesforce and also SAP, and once the deal is complete and a product roadmap has been finalised it is expected that Roambi will help to bring greater mobile analytics access.

Steve Lucas, president, Digital Enterprise Platform at SAP said: "The old analytics strategy-to-execution loop is not real time, agile, or democratic enough to adjust to digital realities," he went on to say that the SAP goal is to deliver all-in-one analytics for everyone.

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Financial details of the deal for Roambi have not been revealed.

In addition to the Spark integration, the company revealed enhancements to the SAP HANA Cloud predictive servers. The updates allow developers and partners to integrate predictive capabilities into their own cloud-based applications.

Developers will be able to use RESTful Web Services for batch and real-time analysis, with the platform providing access to scoring equations, key influences, dataset services, outliers and forecasting services.

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