By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Warren Zevon's great song "Accidentally Like A Martyr:"
Boy, publish a news piece about Oracle buying someone in the business intelligence industry and you almost don't have to work the next morning, people are more than happy to pitch their two cents in your cup.
I did contact a good friend at SAS to find out what they, as certainly one of the largest privately-held business intelligence (what we old-timers used to call "analytic CRM") vendor on the planet with almost $2 billion in revenue, thought.
She said the purchase certainly "raises many questions. Has consolidation in the market for business intelligence begun? Is Oracle's announcement of its planned Hyperion acquisition a BI play? What is performance management and how does it relate to BI and to businesses today?"
In short, she said, the question is what does this acquisition and the convergence of BI and performance management mean for companies today? "One thing is clear: speculation will grow over the next hours and days about next moves in the software markets. How will IBM, SAP and others respond? Who is lining up as a dance partner for BI tools vendors Cognos or Business Objects?"
Someone else at SAS, Russ Cobb, Vice President of Marketing said with performance management and business intelligence a priority for businesses today, "we’ve expected news of further consolidation like Oracle-Hyperion for some time. In our view this acquisition is part of a larger Oracle-SAP battle, and not necessarily one that benefits customers."
In the short-term, "we see this acquisition distracting a competitor for performance management solutions, and to a lesser extent BI, while they deal with integration issues," from this and prior acquisitions, Cobb said.
He added that he too expects other BI tools vendors like Business Objects and Cognos to be affected by this announcement as "customers ponder their ability to remain independent."
In their Webcast discussion explaining the purchase, Oracle claims to now have the most comprehensive BI product line. They do have a broad line-up, albeit one that has been pieced together through acquisitions.
Looking further down the road, Cobb said, "we expect more acquisitions involving IBM, SAP, Cognos and Business Objects."
"The only surprise here is that something like this didn't happen sooner," said Anthony Deighton, Vice President of Marketing for QlikTech, a vendor of in-memory BI products. "The traditional OLAP BI providers, including Hyperion, continue to face pressure simultaneously from the traditional technology 'stack' players like Oracle, Microsoft and SAP on one side."
With the stack players hungry for growth and customers of traditional BI players tired of complex OLAP-based solutions, "we don't see the traditional BI players remaining standalone for much longer," Deighton added.
And of course, as to be expected, SAP took the opportunity to take a shot at their old rival. "This acquisition does nothing to help Oracle 'achieve critical mass' in SAP accounts, as Oracle is claiming," a SAP official claimed, pointing out that Oracle "always has had a presence in SAP accounts, from a database perspective, but it continues to lose ground to SAP in applications, which is why it has had to resort to acquisitions such as these."
In fact, the official claimed, "SAP sold more applications software in the fourth quarter of 2006 than Oracle, and all of its acquired companies, sold during the entire year."
Oracle's strategy, "limited by its inability to grow on its own, has resorted to attempting to acquire customers," the SAP official sniffed.
He may have a point -- SAP has more than 2.5 times the market share in applications than Oracle does, and despite all the billions of dollars Oracle has spent on more than 20 acquisitions, SAP still gained 3 percentage points of market share in 2006 alone.
The Hyperion deal, this SAP official opined, is but "one more way that Oracle attempts to hide the fact that applications is not its core business… Oracle wants to distract the market from the real story, which is that Oracle has made no progress on applications software in 36 months, and we hear that Fusion is further delayed."
There you go, what Oracle's competitors, i.e. enemies, think. In case you were wondering.
Not a bad day for authors' birthdays today, you have 1942's John Irving, who wrote one pretty funny novel, The World According To Garp, and of the truly great American novels of the 20th century, A Prayer For Owen Meany, as well as some uninspired product and absolute avert-your-eyes tommyrot -- it can be safely said that no American post-World War II novelist has published both classics and dreck across a wider gulf.
There's also 1931's Tom Wolfe, the greatest reporter of the second half of the 20th century, responsible for such great nonfiction work as The Right Stuff and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test as well as pretty much the entire idea of reporting in the conversational, fiction style adopted by innumerable "New Journalists" from Hunter S. Thompson, Terry Southern and Gay Talese to hordes of less talented imitators.
You may or may not have read a book by either of today's birthday boys. But today's also the day we celebrate the 1904 birthday of somebody whose books First Coffee will bet his laptop you have read -- Theodore Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss.
Or had read to you, as the case may be.
Skytide, a vendor of analytical CRM products, has announced that it has been selected to receive a CRM WizKids Award from Beagle Research Group, LLC for what Skytide officials term "innovative business intelligence application deployed at Netli," a vendor of web application acceleration and content delivery services.
The CRM WizKids notes emerging companies with products and ideas for the front office market.
The Skytide Analytical Platform is a BI software tool that links traditional and non-traditional data sources to "uncover the hidden details" behind a company's business metrics. Because it operates on data where it resides -- without a data warehouse or any ETL required -- companies can analyze large data volumes" in near real-time," Skytide officials say.
The product can understand complex data from "virtually any source, including semi-structured data such as log files, XML, and HTML," according to Skytide officials, who add that since Skytide uses XML to tie together different pieces of the BI stack into a small-footprint, virtual technology stack, customers get "reduced cost, complexity and time-to-implement."
Netli implemented the Skytide Analytical Platform to provide its customers with visibility into system performance, while giving its internal operations team insight into network performance, the ability to perform customer value analysis and pinpoint problems.
Denis Pombriant of Beagle Research said Skytide makes a robust BI product "a reality for companies that previously considered themselves too small or without sufficient resources to ever afford" one.
Application areas for Skytide technology include contact centers, risk and security management, compliance, and other areas of business that generate significant volumes of mission-critical unstructured and semi-structured data.
Skytide partners include IBM, Sun Microsystems and Inxight. Based in San Mateo, Skytide is a privately held company funded by Granite Ventures and El Dorado Ventures.
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