Predictive analytics may not be a new concept in business but the convergence of new market forces such as big data, mobility and cloud computing have resulted in a host of new and powerful opportunities for the application of this valuable technology toolset.

Nowadays, companies must extract meaningful business value from vast amounts of data, whether it emanates from transactional data typically generated within the enterprise itself or from unstructured data created by external sources in the Cloud and elsewhere such as social media networks and the like.

SAP Predictive Analysis works with a company’s existing data environment at optimal levels when combined with the power of SAP HANA, an in-memory computing platform that combines database, data processing, and application platform capabilities, for the delivery of real-time predictive insight.

“The resulting insight allows businesses to uncover hidden customer, employee, vendor and partner trends, anticipate buying behaviour and then take proactive action and the implications are huge,” comments Merlin Knott, SAP Africa’s director of Business Analytics.

“Effectively leveraged predictive analytics allows businesses to significantly increase understanding of their customers’ behaviour, improve response to clients, and deliver tangible business value which will ultimately drive up profitability.”

Predictive insight is no longer the sole bastion of statisticians and data analysts, as it can be made available to all of the employees within the company to capitalise on the business intelligence.

The advent of revolutionary in-memory technology like SAP’s HANA platform has drastically reduced the time as well as the cost associated with data processing.

It also makes it possible to perform predictive analysis of massively expansive data volumes in real time. This means that businesses can now identify untapped opportunities and expose hidden risks buried inside these vast amounts of data and go on to design complex predictive models, visualise data from internal and external sources and share meaningful insights across the organisation.

“Businesses can no longer focus solely on delivering the best product or service. Why just meet customer demands when you can actually anticipate them?” asked Knott. “With the right technology tools, you can now identify new opportunities and provide targeted products and services to your customers to boost their efficiency and client retention,” he adds.

Even employees in the field are able to utilise SAP’s Predictive Analytics applications powered by SAP HANA. By leveraging the power of cloud computing, the use of the analytics applications can also be extended to mobile devices to deliver business intelligence to a user’s smartphone or tablet.

For instance, sales team members can use the predictive functionality of solutions to generate up-to-date reports and make sales projections for the end of the fiscal period.