The battle of the Business Intelligence software vendors

Tighter race in Business Intelligence software seen in 2008

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The protagonists: IBM, SAP and Oracle

A’dam – January, 6th 2008 – As the amount of stored information increases further, the year 2008 will be the start of a slugfest among business intelligence software providers. Among the protagonists, not surprisingly, are IBM, Oracle and SAP.

BI is hotter than other software markets

Business intelligence has become one of the hottest segments in the software market today, thanks to billion-dollar acquisitions by the three above-mentioned companies. The latest was IBM’s announcement in November to acquire Canadian firm Cognos. Perennial rivals Oracle and SAP also joined the acquisition spree. In April, Oracle announced its $3.3 billion acquisition of Hyperion Solutions followed by SAP’s buyout of Business Objects.

Looking for integration

From a niche solution, the spate of acquisitions could indicate that major players involved are looking to integrate business intelligence (or BI) into their product sets.

According to market analyst IDC, the “disruptions” caused by these mergers and acquisitions will alter the competitive landscape in the BI software industry.

Asia Pacific IT industry

New solution segments could result as IBM, Oracle and SAP integrate BI around their go-to-market strategies, IDC said in its top 10 forecast for the Asia Pacific IT industry in 2008.

In addition, BI is increasingly being packaged and sold as part of a larger solution that better targets customer needs, accelerating the evolution of what IDC calls intelligent process automation or IPA.

Pricing pressures

While consolidation and convergence are expected to contribute to some downward pricing pressures, IDC expects the overall BI market in Asia Pacific to continue growing positively in 2008.

At $7 billion, Krish Datta, managing director for SAP Philippines, acknowledged Business Objects has been a bigger than usual acquisition for the German software maker.

So dynamic and active

“This scale of acquisition SAP has not done before,” Datta noted in an interview with “But as the market moves, the analytics side is so dynamic and so active; we have to do something to keep up. It makes sense to acquire something which is really big,” he said, referring to the Business Objects deal.

BO is still part of that strategy

But Datta said this does not deviate far from SAP’s organic growth strategy, citing smaller acquisitions by the company in the past few years in solutions segment like retail.

“We used to do small acquisitions based on solution completeness and Business Objects is still part of that strategy,” he said.


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