by Todd R. Weiss

SAP and Google Maps Team Up to Visualize Corporate Data

Jul 27, 20114 mins
Business IntelligenceData ManagementData Warehousing

SAP and Google have announced a new partnership intended to help enterprises use Google Maps to better visualize their data. Here's how this partnership can help your business use its data even more effectively.

SAP and Google Maps have unveiled a new way to mingle maps and data to help enterprises get more useful information out of their terabytes of critical business records.

The idea is simple: By using SAP analytics applications that will be integrated with Google Maps APIs, enterprise users will be able to overlay the data over graphical map images to “see” valuable patterns and information that may not have been visible before, giving businesses new insights into customers, markets and more.

Using illustrations or maps to represent business data is certainly not new, but in the big scheme of things, data visualization is still in its infancy. This collaboration between SAP and Google represents the another evolutionary step toward the continuing consumerization of enterprise apps to make them more user-friendly.

The new analyses that are possible through the evolving merger of maps and data will allow users to drill down to find new patterns and business opportunities based on detailed information such as sales market figures from states, cities and even neighborhoods. Lots of previously unseen sales possibilities could be discovered and explored through creative analysis and fresh views of existing data.

Watch this YouTube video released by SAP and Google to illustrate the new features.

Here are other examples of how enterprises might use SAP apps that include Google Maps capabilities, according to the two companies:

*A telecom operator could use Google Earth and SAP BusinessObjects Explorer software to perform dropped-call analysis and pinpoint the geo-coordinates of faulty towers.

*A mortgage bank could perform risk assessment of its mortgage portfolio by overlaying foreclosure and default data with the location of loans on Google Maps.

*With SAP StreamWork, a team of customer support representatives in a consumer packaged goods company could collaborate and pinpoint the location of consumer complaints within specific geographies and make a decision regarding how to address and prioritize complaint resolution.

*A theme park operator could use the Google Maps API Premier and get real-time traffic information on attractions with SAP BusinessObjects apps to send rerouting messages to customers in order to improve satisfaction rates and ease traffic jams.

This kind of mixing of technologies will only get more common because it in essence extends the abilities of critical enterprise applications, which makes them more valuable to business users. And that’s huge for businesses that have to try harder in today’s global economy to be successful.

Here’s why: All that corporate data is just sitting out there, begging to be used. Often, enterprises produce it, sort it and store it, with little regard to it after an initial analysis. That, though, is so 1980s. Today, business analytics is an important tool for many companies because it allows them to truly take advantage of existing assets — their information-filled business, customer, transactional, supply and partner data — that are just sitting there, waiting for smart people to find new ways to use it to propel companies forward.

Yes, SAP and Google have previously collaborated on various early map and data mergers before, but this latest move is an even deeper dive for huge sets of enterprise data.

The ways in which companies can pair SAP data with Google Maps are broad. It can be a tool for every kind of business, from financial services to manufacturing and retailers. It can enable enterprises to find new uses and value from the vital corporate data that’s already owned. That’s a potential gain that could be worth investigating for your company.

SAP customers can expect the first Google Maps APIs to surface with the upcoming release of SAP’s Business Objects 4.1, according to IDG News Service. While the initial announcement centers on SAP analytics apps, customers can expect other SAP products, such as CRM, to integrate Google Maps APIs over time.

This kind of data illustration can be used by your enterprise to get ahead of competitors. Inevitably, it will bring new ways of connecting data and maps with mobile devices, too, which will further expand the possibilities.

The thing to really watch for is how this will encourage even more uses for incorporating Google Maps with enterprise data in a wide range of businesses. It certainly also will likely mean similar tie-ins with enterprise apps from many other vendors.

Can you find ways to use this technology to add value to your company’s data?

It could open new doors for your business. I’d love to hear your views.