Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Another BI Vendor Acquired

The big software vendors continue to consolidate the BI market.

Today, IBM announced plans to acquire statistical analysis software vendor SPSS for $1.2 billion in U.S. cash. IBM and SPSS had already been partners to integrate predictive analytics features into the Cognos BI product.

We know that consolidations will continue, so let's just get them over with. Here is some advice on how to move things forward faster.

Which of the original companies are still standing in the weeds after the big boys pushed them off the field to play the BI game?

Information Builders and Actuate both offer BI products oriented toward developers to build BI applications -- Information Builders with its proprietary 4GL and Actuate using Java. MicroStrategy, on the other hand, has an end-user adhoc reporting environment that is popular with companies having large data stores, such as those in retail or insurance.

Because Actuate uses Java and Oracle (after acquiring Sun) is aligned with that technology, let's give Actuate to Oracle. Yes, Oracle already has plenty of BI tools, but they will find a good purpose for Actuate, even if it is only used internally to build BI features into Oracle applications.

IBI and IBM. Over the decades, thousands of receptionists confused IBI reps with IBM when they showed up for sales calls. IBM already resells Information Builders' WebFOCUS product under the name "DB2 Web Query" on the Series i platform. Information Builders has strong mainframe technology and a large client base which IBM can easily leverage. Of course, WebFOCUS competes with Cognos, which IBM acquired and ported to the mainframe. Regardless, each product can be positioned into different niches and made to play nicely together.

For MicroStrategy, let's give them to SAP which earlier partnered with the very-large database vendor Teradata. Many of the MicroStrategy clients already store their data in the Teradata product, so this makes sense. Even though SAP already acquired competitive product Business Objects, they can put BO into an adhoc user niche while they position MicroStrategy as an industry-specific application for organizations with VLDBs.

After these mergers, the only vendors not included will be the open-source BI youngsters jumping up and down shouting, "I wanna play! I wanna play!" The rest of us can take our seats and watch the game.

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About Me

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I am a project-based software consultant, specializing in automating transitions from legacy reporting applications into modern BI/Analytics to leverage Social, Cloud, Mobile, Big Data, Visualizations, and Predictive Analytics using Information Builders' WebFOCUS. Based on scores of successful engagements, I have assembled proven Best Practice methodologies, software tools, and templates.

I have been blessed to work with innovators from firms such as: Ford, FedEx, Procter & Gamble, Nationwide, The Wendy's Company, The Kroger Co., JPMorgan Chase, MasterCard, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Siemens, American Express, and others.

I was educated at Valparaiso University and the University of Cincinnati, where I graduated summa cum laude. In 1990, I joined Information Builders and for over a dozen years served in regional pre- and post-sales technical leadership roles. Also, for several years I led the US technical services teams within Cincom Systems' ERP software product group and the Midwest custom software services arm of Xerox.

Since 2007, I have provided enterprise BI services such as: strategic advice; architecture, design, and software application development of intelligence systems (interactive dashboards and mobile); data warehousing; and automated modernization of legacy reporting. My experience with BI products include WebFOCUS (vendor certified expert), R, SAP Business Objects (WebI, Crystal Reports), Tableau, and others.