Forrester Quick Take: SAP Acquires Roambi, Opens New Chapter In Mobile BI

Major conferences are often the occasion for key vendor announcements, and SAP didn’t disappoint. At the 2016 SAP Insider event on BI/Hana in Las Vegas, SAP announced the acquisition of independent mobile BI specialist Roambi’s solution portfolio and key assets. With this acquisition, SAP underlines its commitment not only to mobile and cloud but also to getting the right data into the hands of the right people at the right time. With this acquisition, SAP underlines its commitment not only to mobile and cloud but also to getting the right data into the hands of the right people at the right time. The Roambi acquisition adds the following to SAP’s mobile BI portfolio:

  • An attractive set of prebuilt visualizations for fast creation of mobile dashboards.
  • A cloud-based back end that can connect to a variety of data and BI sources.
  • The capability to create data-rich, interactive, eBook-like publications.

There are both tactical and strategic aspects to SAP’s acquisition of Roambi, which:

  • Adds attractive capabilities to SAP’s mobile BI portfolio, even for customers who may already be using BusinessObjects Mobile.
  • Provides an instant cloud option for mobile BI to customers running on-premises BI environments, but who can’t, or don’t want to, support a mobile BI solution.
  • Can be leveraged as an important building block for the mobile capabilities of SAP Cloud for Analytics.
  • Brings more than software to the SAP stable. In one fell swoop, SAP gains a team of professionals who’ve been living and breathing mobile BI for a long time.

There’s  a lot of goodness in this deal, and both parties are to be congratulated.  As with all deals, there are challenges as well. For example,

  • SAP needs to articulate very quickly how Roambi fits into the overall SAP BI, cloud and mobile portfolio, both in the near and longer term. There’s already a degree of confusion among the SAP customer base when it comes to SAP’s portfolio for BI and analytics. The addition of Roambi stirs up the mix some more, and SAP’s owes its customers some clarity on how it all hangs together, and what the roadmap is.
  • There are a number of technical shortcomings in the Roambi portfolio that  SAP needs to address if it wants to unlock the full potential of its acquisition.

SAP BI customers and SAP and Roambi prospects will also need to understand what SAP’s plans are for where Roambi is hosted; what it’s strategy is for connections to non-SAP BI data sources; whether Roambi’s change of ownership has any legal implications in relation to accessing non-SAP BI data sources; and last, but by no means least, what SAP’s strategy is for BusinessObjects Mobile.

For more detailed comments, read the complete Forrester Quicktake.