SAP Takes Sentiment Intelligence for a Spin via New Rapid Deployment Packaging

SAP’s rapid-deployment solution for sentiment intelligence with SAP HANA — this new product packaging is a mouthful — launched on August 1, a combination of software and services that integrates sentiment analysis, drawing on social-media sources, into SAP customer relationship management (CRM) and other enterprise applications.

SAP’s new sentiment-intelligence solution uses generally available technology, according to Byron Banks, SAP vice president, product marketing, who states that this RDS instance is “not a product launch.” According to Banks, “SAP’s RDS business has been really strong.” Banks continues, “this solution allows you to bring social media into the applications environment,” to help business users understand social content, profile users, and potentially link social postings to SAP-managed customer records.

SAP has built out the technology over the past couple of years. It draws on the Inxight text information-extraction technology that SAP acquired as part of its 2007 BusinessObjects acquisition, which went down just months after BusinessObjects bought Xerox spin-out Inxight. The technology is now part of the SAP Data Services framework, where it may be invoked to add text analytics capabilities to the HANA in-memory analytics platform. SAP Data Services are also available through other product lines, for instance, to supply text analytics capabilities to the Sybase IQ analytical database system.

Sentiment analysis, for SAP the ability to identify and exploit mood and tone in text sources, is a newer addition to the SAP HANA portfolio, added over the past year or so.

SAP Product Marketing VP Byron Banks states that the new HANA sentiment-intelligence solution complements SAP Social Media Analytics powered by NetBase, characterized as a “scalable social intelligence platform for understanding market sentiment, perceptions, and passion,” which launched in December 2011. The NetBase solution, resold via SAP channels, is a cloud-based solution that draws on a repository of billions of social postings that is being extended by 90 million postings per day, according to Banks.

What about the competition?

Attensity, Clarabridge, and Kana focus on customer experience, typically via analysis of survey verbatim responses and online reviews. Attensity and others such as Radian6, Crimson Hexagon, and NetBase do social-media analytics (a.k.a. social intelligence) for marketing, media measurement, social CRM (that is, engagement), and other applications. There’s some cross-over, and there are many other players, often with lower-grade text and sentiment analysis capabilities. The SAP distinction is greater possibilities for linking social-content analysis to enterprise CRM; others treat social as a ‘silo.’ The most likely SAP social intelligence competitors are enterprise heavyweights IBM and SAS.

SAP has not announced any launch customers for the HANA sentiment intelligence RDS, but the company is confident of strong sales in the near term. Indeed, because very few solutions on the market build social-intelligence into a comprehensive, scalable analytical environment that matches SAP HANA, with the ability to bridge into enterprise CRM and other customer-data systems, the new SAP solution is well positioned for market success.

Banks would not provide solution pricing, but stated that deployments would involve creating applications and solutions targeting particular business problems with license terms adapted to match customer needs.

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