SAP is using the Google Maps API to drive visualization for Business Objects' business intelligence (BI) software to provide location intelligent (LI) applications. SAP characterizes this as a unique collaboration in their video/demo. The only thing I can see as unique is that Google and not Esri, which had been, up until now, the geospatial partner of choice for SAP. See our stories on SAP's Sagres projects.
The afforementioned video shows a demo of the basic BI dashboard common in other BI collaborations with Google Maps, so I wouldn't characterize that as unique either. The company believes that this new platform also satisfies the need to integrate "consumer" (i.e. Google's Maps or Earth) applications as well as allow it a foothold in the mobile space. An article in Enterprise Apps quotes SAP's EVP Jonathon Becher that Google is supplying "a custom API that goes beyond Google's public consumer-based APIs." It's not clear what this is.
SAP envisions bringing corporate information to life via Google's dynamic, interactive map, satellite and even street-level views.
It's a great vision; it's just not new. BI/LI dashboards are just the norm at this point. Others like Oracle, PBBI/Microstrategy, IDV Solutions/Microsoft/Bing Maps, and Integeo/Cognos, IBM/Cognos (obviously) have all brought similar solutions out to market previously. SAP has also offered enterprise geospatial options in the past as noted above in their relationship with Esri, but has never seemed to fully embrace enterprise location intelligence as the others have.
SAP is also touting its ability to handle "big data" but doesn't really specify if they think they are handling the petabye-sized data of high volume transactions or whether they are allowing Google to do the heavy lifting of visualizing satellite data. SAP does mention their in-memory database capabilities but the linkage is unclear to the "big data" reference.
The entire press announcement lacks a certain understanding of what's been happening in location intelligence over the past five years that appears downright naive. I don't believe the SAP client base is unaware of what other solution providers offer and perhaps has been waiting for SAP to get their collective act together on offering geospatial visualization.
It's good to see SAP step into the LI market. Their expertise in enterprise app needs to address the geospatial component, which they have with this annoucement.