Tuesday, October 9

BO takeover made public @ 20% premium

The agreed to takeover of Business Objects at a 20% premium or $6.8B by SAP is now public knowledge. The news articles read as per expected; synergies between their companies will benefit customers. Click on the diagram showing how SAP and BO complement each other.

The question is How will they benefit customers?

It has been an acquisition frenzy lately. SAP purchased OutlookSoft (performance mgmt), Pilot Software (analytics), and now Business Objects (suite of tools). Plus BO recently purchased Cartesis (performance mgmt).

And with all this growth, BO has been spending years integrating the original BO package and Crystal engines. Cartesis hasn't been fully integrated prior to this acquisition so the challenge will be how to sensibly pull together four different products into a clear product offering from SAP.

Then take the overlap with SAP's own Business Warehouse product. From my experience BW had difficulties being received by customers -- the takeovers/acquisitions definitely give SAP a strong BI offering for their business process solutions. They should simply replace their Business Warehouse tools completely with tools that work.

Will SAP embed their acquired analytics into their transactional applications?

Perhaps the question is When. You can expect SAP to provide an integrated SAP/BI solution where the new analytics will be embedded within the business process tools. Which is another challenge. Will SAP embed their new BI tools and still offer a separate BI suite of tools? BO, as with the others, are vendor neutral - meaning the tools can sit on a variety of vendor databases.

And with BO's revenues of $1.25B last year, disupting that source of income just to have BI embedded within SAP so you can sell a packaged solution, would be suicide. Unless the management team thinks the world revolves around business process and is unable to see the vendor-neutral potential of BI.

The merging portfolio's of two multi-billion-dollar companies give this takeover huge complications in vision and direction. I'm sure existing Business Objects customers will be watching closely.

Now that leaves Cognos to be purchased by EMC, HP or IBM. Any friendly bets on who takes Cognos to new heights?

1 comment:

Ron Dimon said...

My former boss, Howard Dresner, doesn't think it will be IBM. So I'm going with IBM ;-) (Howard, if you see this - just kidding!)

I've seen HP on the list before, but this is the first I've seen EMC - but I can see how that might make sense given their move to applications and acquisitions.

Maybe with Oracle going after BEA, and SAP announcing more acquistions, SAP will acquire COGNOS (in addition to BOBJ) just to preempt Oracle from doing it again.