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SAP announces sweeping integrations with geospatial data vendor

In a nod to geospatial data's growing importance, SAP announced a new partnership intended to give users new decision-making tools.

SAP announced today it is partnering with Esri, a geographic information system (GIS) and location analytics provider, to more tightly integrate GIS data with its own in-memory platform as well as BusinessObjects, SAP mobile, and Business Suite applications.

Geospatial data allows businesses to track everything from sales to equipment and machines, all according to a geographical location or region, according to David Jonker, director of big data strategy at SAP. 

 "A lot of the data you deal with today, and an increasing amount of data we'll deal with in the future, will have some element of location associated with it," Jonker said.

With the agreement, Esri's geospatial functionality is being integrated with SAP HANA, the company's in-memory platform, to give customers the ability to consume, process and analyze spatial, transactional and text data within the same in-memory platform, according to SAP. 

Although SAP had announced support for geospatial data with the release of HANA Service Pack 6, the announcement reflects a tighter relationship with a specific geospatial vendor.

SAP also announced integration between Esri and SAP's BusinessObjects maps, graphs and other dashboarding tools.  SAP Lumira, formerly SAP Visual Intelligence, will be the first of the SAP BI applications to be integrated with Esri.  The embedded Esri API will be available in Lumira Service Pack 12, due out in Q3 of this year.

The first SAP Mobile Platform apps to access Esri's geospatial data servers will be SAP Work Manager and SAP CRM Service Manager.  Both integrations are expected in Q3 of this year.

SAP has also begun integrating Esri's data and mapping functions with SAP Business Suite applications.  That list so far includes SAP Enterprise Asset Management, SAP Product Lifecycle Management, SAP Fraud management, and SAP Real Estate Lifecycle Management.

Users will need to deploy a specific package that SAP co-built with Esri to allow  geographical enablement of SAP ERP.  That application is available now, according to Marie Goodell, senior director of big data marketing for SAP. 

Consulting help is also available for companies that want help integrating the ERP data with the Esri mapping data so that it displays correctly within SAP software. "You do have to do some application development to pull that view into your existing Business Suite application," Goodell said.

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