Sea Change in BI Market to Make SMB Splash

Ann All

There's a real land grab under way in the business intelligence market, as we blogged recently. SAP's recent acquisition of Business Objects and IBM's bid for Cognos will no doubt trigger additional purchases and will have ramifications for BI buyers of all sizes.


The trend is likely to be especially significant for mid-sized businesses, according to a recent article. An Info-Tech analyst tells the publication that these deals open up new opportunities in the SMB space for other BI vendors, including Microsoft and QlikTech. The IBM acquisition will mean that Cognos products will be positioned for larger businesses, predicts the analyst.


Indeed, says an executive from SAS Institute, one of the dwindling number of remaining BI pureplays, the IBM purchase could send "mixed messages" to Cognos' thus-far devoted SBM customers.


SAP's purchase of Business Objects, in contrast, may be less disruptive to the latter firm's users. At least that's the way the company's VP for mid-market strategy spins it in a recent interview with ZDNet.


He says SAP's strong brand will help it educate smaller companies about BI. Not only that, but SAP's expertise in enterprise resource planning is a good match for Business Objects' capabilities.

What is interesting is that we estimate we have 37,000 customers in the mid-market globally, of which 17,000 have some form of ERP. So we tell them that, since they have some form of ERP anyway, they will want some insight into the data they have. So business intelligence becomes a logical extension of ERP, be it from SAP or otherwise.

Demand for BI is strong at businesses of all sizes, but seems especially intense at SMBs, leading many vendors to create software-as-a-service BI products to appeal to smaller companies.

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