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Claudia Imhoff

Welcome to my blog.

This is another means for me to communicate, educate and participate within the Business Intelligence industry. It is a perfect forum for airing opinions, thoughts, vendor and client updates, problems and questions. To maximize the blog's value, it must be a participative venue. This means I will look forward to hearing from you often, since your input is vital to the blog's success. All I ask is that you treat me, the blog, and everyone who uses it with respect.

So...check it out every week to see what is new and exciting in our ever changing BI world.

About the author >

A thought leader, visionary, and practitioner, Claudia Imhoff, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized expert on analytics, business intelligence, and the architectures to support these initiatives. Dr. Imhoff has co-authored five books on these subjects and writes articles (totaling more than 150) for technical and business magazines.

She is also the Founder of the Boulder BI Brain Trust, a consortium of independent analysts and consultants (www.BBBT.us). You can follow them on Twitter at #BBBT

Editor's Note:
More articles and resources are available in Claudia's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

Recently in Business News Category

Sun announced today that it is acquiring StorageTek for $4.1 billion (all in cash) in a deal Sun hopes will restore its financial wealth. It's an enormous gamble and the last one of this size that Sun can do given its financial war chest. Is this a sound gamble?

Sun has long been trying to reestablish itself in the server business with limited success. It has also tried its hand at selling software with its well-publicized open source push. It seems strange then that the company would turn around and buy a long-established storage company but the talk on the street is that Sun believes that storage is "where it is at" -- that is, where they will be able to make their financial fortunes.

It also means that Sun wants to transform itself into a total systems company -- basically one stop shopping for all your hardware needs a la IBM. And it means that StorageTek may get the needed push to move it out of the languishing position it has been in for years.

But not everyone is cheering the deal. A Prudential analyst, Steve Fortuna, states that the deal "reduces Sun's cash hoard by 40% and does nothing to reignite revenue growth or profitability. We would rather have seen the company buy back a billion shares and fire 10,000 people". Ouch! That is some serious criticism at a time when Sun could use some positive news.

One can only hope that this acquisition fares better than several of its past ones like Cobalt Network, Tarantella and Procom. And one can only hope that the addition of StorageTek's 1000 person sales force will help the overall sales for the combined companies... I guess all that remains to be seen.


Posted June 2, 2005 3:56 PM
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Apparently you don't want to disagree with Tom Siebel. It'll cost you your job -- so says Michael Lawrie in a recent Business Week article. Michael was the CEO for Sieble for less than one year and says he was shocked when he was fired.

According to the article, Lawrie's main problem was that he just couldn't "connect" with Tom Sieble. While they met frequently, it appears that Tom just didn't like the fact that his new CEO was actually changing the direction of his company. But isn't that why you bring in a new person?

But then again, Tom Sieble has been pretty quick to fire his top executives when the company's performance did not live up to expectations. Unfortunately that kind of behavior has not improved the company's faltering sales -- Siebel, the company, has seen its revenues decline for the past 2 years with no end in sight.

Looking back, Lawrie says that maybe he should have focused more on expenses rather than trying to improve the growth of the company. Sounds like a good idea for a company whose revenues are slipping badly. Maybe the next CEO will take his advice and have better luck. And just maybe Tom will relinquish a little of the $2.2 billion the company has in cash to its shareholders. It might just make them a bit happier.


Posted May 12, 2005 12:24 PM
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Yeah -- when donkeys fly. At least that is the sentiment among the analyst community. Apparently the rumors were flying about a potential sale to Oracle because Sieble reported pretty puny quarterly earnings. On the surface, these talks may seem plausible but there may be reasons why this is not such a good idea.

According to an article written by John Pallatto, columnist for eWeek, there are several reasons why this marriage would not be viable:

1. Such a buy-out would create tension between Oracle and some other big names in the CRM space -- like SAP, IBM, and even arch nemesis, Microsoft. Somehow, I don't think that would bother Larry Ellison.
2. Why would Oracle want MORE CRM software? That is perhaps the better question. Oracle is still digesting PeopleSoft and all of its CRM capabilities and they have their own homegrown CRM products. All need to be integrated. Siebel's products are fairly redundant with what Oracle already has.
3. Then there is the question of whether Tom Siebel, whose ego is no small thing, could swallow his pride and do what is best for his shareholders before the prospects for the company dim even further.
4. Of course, you have to question whether or not another multibillion dollar deal would strain Oracle's financial position too much. They have been busy little beavers buying up a number of companies so their financial position is not to be taken lightly.

Finally, how would Sieble's customers react to such a deal? Probably not with great cheers and sighs of relief, huh?

Maybe we should rekindle the rumor that Carl Icahn is buying the company? That would keep everyone talking for at least a day.

Yours in BI success,

Claudia


Posted May 5, 2005 2:35 PM
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At one time, Comdex was the largest high-tech tradeshow in the world. Today, it was announced by the show's owner that the show has been cancelled -- for a second year!

How sad -- and what does this say for the tradeshow business in general? Comdex in its heyday - the mid 1990's -- attracted more than 200,000 attendees to Las Vegas and was quite the showplace for new and established technology exhibitors. It was THE place where all major IT products and innovations were launched.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to present there for two years and what a thrill it was. I have never seen so much creativity under one (really big) roof. The excitement and undercurrent of energy was incredible. Ah, it was grand!

Unfortunately these types of large shows have had their attendees drained off in recent years by smaller and more focused events. According to the organizers, the traditional exhibitors were not enthusiastic enough about being in this year's show. Others state that they have doubts that the past enthusiam will ever return. Could this be the death nell for a grand old show?

Let me know your thoughts.

Yours in BI success,

Claudia


Posted March 30, 2005 10:59 AM
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Boy -- I take a short vacation and miss out on all the excitement! Hewlett-Packard selected NCR Corporation's CEO to replace ousted Carly Fiorina. (see my blog from February 9, 2005). Big shoes to fill indeed -- and an interesting choice, I might say.

Mark Hurd came up through the ranks of Teradata -- ultimately serving as their COO and President. He became NCR's CEO in March 2003. Under his leadership, NCR saw a turnaround of their declining revenues (last quarter saw their net income rise 55 % and sales rise 9% to $1.79 Billion) but it seems like going from NCR to HP is a mightly big leap for him. The two companies are quite different in size (HP's annual revenues are about $80 Billion!) and HP has had a very high profile CEO who, despite what the naysayers may think of her, did keep HP in the news.

Apparently, Mr. Hurd really wanted the job . For the past 7 weeks, he has campaigned for the it (who knew?)and read everything in the public domain he could about the company. He is bringing his background in Business Intelligence as well. He has already gotten Board chairwoman Patty Dunn and CFO Bob Wayman talking about the need for metrics associated with the 'winning' strategy. Dunn said. "Mark is very much a fan of performance metrics, and we like the establishment of logical performance metrics to monitor that success..." Good for him!

I read a sample of several people's opinions about Mr. Hurd and found that most had never heard of him. I guess he is a much more familiar name to those of us in the BI area. Here are some comments from Ian Foster's blog and other sources:

Rob Enderle says Hurd is a good choice saying that this selection is a "staying the course strategy from HP". He expects Hurd to focus on management basics and will not cause any major disruptions. Sounds to me like Mr. Enderle thinks Hurd will continue with Fiorina's directions.

Naomi Moneypenny states that it was "an interesting choice and how very different from Carly Fiorina." She wondered if Hurd can come up with a new strategy -- She says in her blog: "... I'm worried that HP is really trying to go to the same 'strategyspace' as IBM. That's a good way to destroy value. Think about HP's collaborative culture... HP is not adept at monolothic operations, never has been. Its history is in product innovation. The question is how can you continue to be known for innovation when you operate across many product lines." Hopefully Mr. Hurd can bring some of his magic at NCR with him to HP.

All this aside, what does it mean for NCR and Teradata? I guess that remains to be seen but it must be a blow to those who were so happy with Mr. Hurd at the helm there. I know he was highly regarded, a great promotor of Teradata and Business Intelligence in general, and will be sorely missed.

Yours in BI success,

Claudia


Posted March 29, 2005 2:13 PM
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