Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The ruckus about consolidation

I think most folks are keenly aware of the dramatic consolidation that has taken place in the BI market during 2007. In fact, there are only a handful of significant pure-play vendors left standing. these include: Actuate, Informatica, Information Builders, Microstrategy, SAS and SPSS.

When I was at Gartner, I observed ongoing consolidation in the market and viewed it as somewhat healthy - sort of a "pruning" of the "dead wood". From the 1990s and through 2005, most of those acquisitions were of smaller companies, not ones with revenues of $800M - $1.2B and market caps in excess of $3B.

The stage for this consolidation was set quite some time ago as the pure-play market matured and three dominant and sizable leaders emerged: Business Objects, Cognos and Hyperion. As other enterprise software markets cooled (e.g., ERP), BI and PM offered higher growth rates and margins. And, with all three of these in relatively good financial condition, any acquisition could be readily made accretive. So it came down to a question of when it would occur and who would be first. At Hyperion there was always a sense that once one fell, all would fall.

So what happens next? Well, I think we're in the midst of a fundamental paradigm shift where the rules are about to change and its not limited to BI or PM.

More on that later...

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