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William McKnight

Hello and welcome to my blog!

I will periodically be sharing my thoughts and observations on information management here in the blog. I am passionate about the effective creation, management and distribution of information for the benefit of company goals, and I'm thrilled to be a part of my clients' growth plans and connect what the industry provides to those goals. I have played many roles, but the perspective I come from is benefit to the end client. I hope the entries can be of some modest benefit to that goal. Please share your thoughts and input to the topics.

About the author >

William is the president of McKnight Consulting Group, a firm focused on delivering business value and solving business challenges utilizing proven, streamlined approaches in data warehousing, master data management and business intelligence, all with a focus on data quality and scalable architectures. William functions as strategist, information architect and program manager for complex, high-volume, full life-cycle implementations worldwide. William is a Southwest Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, a frequent best-practices judge, has authored hundreds of articles and white papers, and given hundreds of international keynotes and public seminars. His team's implementations from both IT and consultant positions have won Best Practices awards. He is a former IT Vice President of a Fortune company, a former software engineer, and holds an MBA. William is author of the book 90 Days to Success in Consulting. Contact William at wmcknight@mcknightcg.com.

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

Recently in Business Objects Category

Only about 10% of BO customers have SAP, but who knows how many SAP customers do not have BO. There is a clear corporate focus on delivering the rest of them to BO. They will do this with a light roadmap, which is to say BO just works on top of SAP. Another focus area is the non-SAP customer, which currently comprises 90% of their customer base. With mostly separated companies, this dual strategy for growth can work.

Also discussed were the plans for SAP Netweaver and incorporating MDM (A2i acquisition) into it as Netweaver MDM, one of the only MDM products with ‘writeback’. Also, a lot of focus was on BO Accelerator - which I’ve blogged about before - to speed up BW performance. One gets the impression it’s supposed to be more than a luxury item for BW. Of course, Crystal Reports remains a focus (BEX moving to Crystal) and Xcelsius was mentioned as their dashboard. I’m a fan of Xcelsius, but it takes a knock here and there for being more of a desktop, than an enterprise, tool.

Technorati tags: Business Intelligence, Independent Analyst Platform, Business Objects

Posted July 6, 2008 12:17 PM
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This morning, it was announced that SAP intends to buy Business Objects for the equivalent of $6.8 billion. While Business Objects will initially be run as a wholly-owned subsidiary, I can certainly see the value of Business Objects software being added to the SAP ERP - especially the portal, the OLAP tool and the data quality tool. SAP software eventually could be reshaped by this acquisition, not only the ERP, but also the Business Warehouse.

Furthermore there’s the competitive play into the Oracle/Business Objects accounts. As Ken Rudin, CEO of LucidEra, commented: “Business Objects is installed in a lot of Oracle accounts, and the implementations are being managed by the IT groups. These are the same people that SAP wants to talk to about putting in SAP's other applications, so it gives SAP an introduction into a large base of accounts currently controlled by Oracle.”

The business intelligence market continues to be absorbed into enterprise software lines. Business Objects was one of the last large standalone business intelligence companies. Enterprise software players now seek an end-to-end story and eventually so will end clients. I’ve talked a lot about “BI Frameworks” – those handful of companies that sell a complete BI story. Maybe we should be talking about enterprise frameworks like those from Oracle, SAP, Microsoft and IBM. If HP did not make moves here beyond NeoView, I would be surprised.

Informatica didn’t need to rush into this, assuming they were even considered by SAP. They are still selling data integration as a standalone and doing it quite well, thank you very much. However, as potential suitors go away one-by-one, long-term, they may need a path into a framework.

Teradata, freshly minted as its own company last month, continues with a “data warehousing is different and necessitates its own consideration” strategy. How long will this serve them? Also there’s Cognos, who, while having less depth than Business Objects, surely was considered in this. And, finally, they may be easy to forget on the financial stage since they are private (albeit one of the largest private companies in the world), but SAS could be a buyer or seller. And welcome to the big time Netezza. What will the eventual NeoView story and the black-box purchasing that will sweep the industry (i.e., Oracle now doing an appliance model) – mean? Are appliances being bought for superior performance, or for the purchasing model? For Netezza’s sake, let’s hope it’s the performance.

So, I’m not rushing into calling this a BI purchase. Rather, they’re now enterprise purchases and further validate the transition of business intelligence from post-operational to operationally embedded in the enterprise.

Technorati tags: Business intelligence, Business Objects, SAP

Posted October 8, 2007 1:36 PM
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$25M was awarded to Informatica last week based on technology infringement in Data Integrator, but the debate between the 2 companies continues over the post-award rhetoric. This article from CRN Australia sums it up.

It remains to be negotiated how much the Data Integrator pathing forward will be affected by this.

Technorati tags: Informatica, Data Integration, Business Objects

Posted June 8, 2007 9:52 AM
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As announced yesterday, Business Objects has entered into a purchase agreement for data quality solutions provider Firstlogic for $69 million - all cash.

That Firstlogic would be bought soon is not surprising since they had recently announced, though not consumated, intent to be purchased by Pitney-Bowes. Surely they will thrive more within business intelligence with Business Objects as their suitor. The move is not surprising on another front, and that is the overall consolidation trend of the business intelligence industry.

What is does signal is that the "big 3" of Microsoft, Oracle and IBM are not doing all of the purchasing and that even BI-centric players like Business Objects (and Informatica with their recent purchase of Similarity Systems) are still growing their businesses through acquisition. Although other BI acquistions are probably not complete for 2006 (Informatica? Microstrategy?), this recent trend will keep a thriving, competitive (and non-standardized) BI market in place for years to come.

As well, data quality is becoming so true a component of business intelligence, that it is well regarded as a member of the standard stack alongside ETL, DBMS and data access.

Posted February 9, 2006 3:23 PM
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I have been referring to Business Objects over the past year as a company "nearing" the billion dollar mark in annual revenue. Now, according to this press release by B.O., I can drop the "nearing" since B.O. is recording $1.039 billion in trailing twelve month revenue for the quarter ending September 30, 2005.

Give credit to B.O. When they acquired Crystal Decisions, the overlap of the technologies presented some challenges. There were questions about the ability to get beyond the additive effects of this merger. Any merger needs to show cost efficiencies and/or revenue enhancement beyond the additive effects. Business Objects had the leading OLAP tool in the market. Crystal Decisions had the leading reporting tool. Each company had made huge strides, both real and from a marketing perspective, in the previous years into the other’s primary domain. So much so that they had virtually identical marketing messages and a high redundancy of products.

The company weeded through the product set, sales forces and sales messages. The customer backlash and reluctance to make new purchases from the company never materialized in force. I was more impressed at the time by the upsell possibilities of the Brio purchase by Hyperion, which happened about the same time.

At this point, I'd have to say B.O. has stayed the course and created the better value proposition, despite the obstacles, and they continue to be a strong force in the market. Along with a small handful of other companies, like Informatica, they are establishing that there is such a thing as a "business intelligence company."

Posted October 30, 2005 8:22 PM
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