Feeds

Will IBM buy BI?

MayBI

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.