Friday, November 16

Who's Next

Who's next in acquisition fever?

Yes, there is already debate on who's to be acquired next. I guess it could be the natural progression of things but more likely the herd mentality is cropping up. I know, I know, BI is hot right now.

But like speculators on the stock exchange who drive prices up, make their money by selling at the top, and watch the prices fall on those unaware investors... aka us normal folk who are just trying to make a buck...

I've noticed attention being focused on the remaining tier 1 independent BI vendors - but I don't want to jump on the propaganda band-wagon for companies that didn't really standout before. Not meant as an insult but there are excellent reasons why Cognos, Business Objects, and Hyperion were acquired first (I would also include Microsoft with these best of breed companies).

Then I read the typical "watch for the up & comers" called tier 2 vendors. I believe both these tier 1 & 2 vendors should all be considered either "up & comers" or "been-there-and-done-that'ers".

The question is, if we sober up from our high on acquisitions, down deep in places we don't mention in polite company, "do you really feel the need for the industry to continue consolidating?"

I think not! Any acquisition now would come across as a follower in a sea of leaders. I may exclude acquiring SAS from that list, although there are post-acquisition, merger problems with a privately owned company such as SAS.

Alas where people, investors, acquisition-hungry companies should focus their attention on are innovative, thinking-out-of-the-box companies, technologies or people that will shift BI away from lengthy, costly implementations; allowing BI to permeate throughout a company delivering on the "BI Promise"!

Otherwise BI will be downgraded to simply a component or attachment to an ERP initiative, perceived as the second-cousin, something we will do later after the "must-haves" are complete. You know, similar to what operational reporting is today. There are winners to this downgrade... IBM, SAP, and Oracle's of the world win by having a complete solution to offer, where customers can go shopping in one place for everything they need.

Another word for this... WALMART!

And how do you compete with Walmart? Carefully, not head-on and not on price. Luckily IBM, SAP, and Oracle are not selling cheap commodities - their prices are high. In stark contrast, Microsoft's licensing model is built for growth... huge growth.

So where does this leave us as customers, consultants, and practitioners? With options.

As competitors consider how you will be competitive within this consolidated BI world.

As customers consider how you will win with either the Walmart's or the up & comers.

And a final up-lifting note on market change for up & comers. A market that is squeezed into a corner has high magnitude potential for paradigm shifts and innovative ideas to alter the status quo... sometimes in a significant way!

Here's a TED video of Larry Lessig telling 3 great stories of change.

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