Feeds

Will IBM buy BI?

MayBI

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Analysis While much of the acquisition talk this year has been about Oracle and its spate of purchases, IBM has been quietly building up its portfolio of capabilities within the business intelligence area and associated technologies. Of course the most notable of these acquisitions was Ascential but there have been a number of others, including what is now Entity Analytic Solutions (previously SRD) as well as both customer and product master data management offerings.

This means that IBM has the building blocks of a complete master data management solution, ditto for data integration, ditto again for data quality and, of course, it has Alphablox as well as existing data mining capability.

Now, bear two further thoughts in mind: first, IBM describes itself as a BI vendor despite the fact that it does not offer a business intelligence solution per se, and secondly it divorced from Hyperion early this year although the two companies retain a close relationship. Put all this together and you have to wonder if IBM may not be positioning itself for a further acquisition.

If we follow this thought experiment through then the next logical question is who they might buy? One of the smaller vendors is theoretically possible but this would not make the sort of impact on the market that IBM would be likely to want to make - though Actuate is a possibility because of its work with Eclipse-so a major player is much more likely.

The major players (leaving aside other infrastructure players such as Microsoft) are SAS, Business Objects, Cognos, Hyperion and MicroStrategy. Any of the last three seem more likely targets than the first two because there is less overlap between the various product sets: both SAS and Business Objects are significant players (or aiming to be) in the data integration space, for example. Cognos, on the other hand, only markets its ETL (extract, transform and load) tool within the confines of its product set whereas SAS and Business Objects both market their tools in non-BI environments. Similarly, both SAS and Business Objects play (or will play) in the EII (enterprise information integration) space whereas Cognos partners for this technology.

There is one final consideration: IBM is adamant that it does not want to sell application software. While this might change, if we assume that this remains the case then MicroStrategy is the obvious target since it is the only one of these vendors that does not offer market planning, consolidation and other front-office corporate performance management (CPM) software. IBM could then market this BI software as the partner of choice for in-depth BI and analytics for those vendors, like Cartesis, Geac and others who address the CPM space but whose strength and expertise is in the operations and finance space rather than BI per se.

Will this happen? I don't know. But it seems an obvious hole in IBM's infrastructure and the purchase of MicroStrategy seems the natural conclusion if it wants to plug that gap. Unless, of course, it can convince itself that Planning and allied applications are not really applications at all but just part of the BI stack: in which case either Hyperion or Cognos would be targets.

Copyright © 2005, IT-Analysis.com

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool
Visual Studio database diagramming's out the window
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.