Will BI Buying Spree Benefit Pureplays?

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As the number of business intelligence pureplays dwindle, with SAP's acquisition of Business Objects and IBM's purchase of Cognos, the remaining BI specialists not surprisingly are rushing to put a positive spin on all of the acquisition activity.


Some of the pureplays, including SAS and MicroStrategy, tell Enterprise Systems that Oracle, SAP and IBM will soon find themselves preoccupied with integrating the technology they've purchased -- creating new opportunities for BI pureplays, especially those whose software is based upon an open architecture.


Their smaller size and focus on a single sector also makes them more nimble, says the VP of alliances and product marketing with SAS:

Unlike these guys (Oracle, SAP and IBM), we aren't going to get distracted. We're going to keep innovating.

The COO of MicroStrategy doesn't deny that the idea of a single-stack BI software solution -- with one company providing the relational database, an operational tier and necessary middleware -- sounds appealing. But he tells Enterprise Systems that companies invariably struggle with making this vision a reality. Enterprise software environments are likely to remain heterogenous for the foreseeable future, he says, giving BI pureplays a competitive advantage.


The article does hint that some of the remaining pureplays could become acquisition targets. Indeed, IBI in 2006 reportedly flirted with an acquisition by Hyperion (which was purchased by Oracle). But the executives from MicroStrategy and SAS downplay this idea.


MicroStrategy wants to be "a Switzerland of BI," says its COO. The high-profile acquisitions of Business Objects and Cognos create an opportunity for BI specialists to "show what platform-independent best-of-breed BI means," says the SAS VP.