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Colin White

I like the various blogs associated with my many hobbies and even those to do with work. I find them very useful and I was excited when the Business Intelligence Network invited me to write my very own blog. At last I now have somewhere to park all the various tidbits that I know are useful, but I am not sure what to do with. I am interested in a wide range of information technologies and so you might find my thoughts will bounce around a bit. I hope these thoughts will provoke some interesting discussions.

About the author >

Colin White is the founder of BI Research and president of DataBase Associates Inc. As an analyst, educator and writer, he is well known for his in-depth knowledge of data management, information integration, and business intelligence technologies and how they can be used for building the smart and agile business. With many years of IT experience, he has consulted for dozens of companies throughout the world and is a frequent speaker at leading IT events. Colin has written numerous articles and papers on deploying new and evolving information technologies for business benefit and is a regular contributor to several leading print- and web-based industry journals. For ten years he was the conference chair of the Shared Insights Portals, Content Management, and Collaboration conference. He was also the conference director of the DB/EXPO trade show and conference.

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

Following rapidly after SAP's acquisition of Pilot Software, Oracle announced this morning they intend to acquire Hyperion Solutions for $3.3 billion. This heats up the battle between Oracle and SAP for BI and analytical application mind share.

The proposed Oracle acquisition further complicates an already confusing Oracle BI product set. The two obvious questions come to mind. First, the acquisition of Hyperion gives Oracle two multi-dimensional database engines -- one embedded in the Oracle database product, the other is Hyperion Essbase. Second, Oracle's strategy to date has been to offer Siebel Analytics as its premier analytics environment. The Hyperion acquisition adds a second set of analytical capabilities. Whereas the Siebel and Hyperion analytic applications could be considered to compliment each other, the BI toolsets definitely overlap.

The SAP acquisition of Pilot Software adds capabilities that SAP was lacking. However, the Oracle acquisition definitely propels Oracle's BI capabilities beyond those of SAP. The challenge for Oracle will be to integrate its wide range of tools and applications.

The question is who is next? Can Business Objects and Cognos continue to grow given the pressure coming Microsoft, Oracle and SAP?

Posted March 1, 2007 8:38 AM
Permalink | 4 Comments |


The Oracle product engineering announcements will be closely studied over the coming weeks and months. Oracle spent years integrating the Express OLAP engine into the Oracle database, and educating the market of the advantage of this strategy. Hyperion's financial management and planning products have a mix of relational and Essbase as underlying technology. How will Oracle untangle this assortment of technologies? And will it be focused strictly on the performance management solutions market or also at the BI market? Customers will have another round of agonizing over their BI application portfolio.

Sounds like an excellent result for Pilot's management team who brought the company back from the abyss only a few years ago.

As for the Hyperion acquisition by Oracle - I agree with Mark Penrock.

Back then, at Pilot, Express was a competitor but it didn't take long to realise that Oracle had neutralised them!

It certaintly does heat up the battel between SAP and Oracle in a broader applications market space, not in BI and DW space.

Oracle is now a category leader in BI with their latest aquisition of Hyperion and earlier aquistion of Seibel. SAP is no way near Oracle's BI and DW capabilities.

Oracle's biggest strength is its rich OLAP and Analytics centric database(DM and DW) as well as their applications suite. Oracle was weak in the presentation layer space and also is quite late in the game of penetratiting into banking and financial services and reaching CFO's of the most fortune 1000 comanies. With the aquisition of Seibel and Hyperion, they have not only filled those gaps but also have created a tremondus opportunity for itself to cross sell their other strong product base to those customers. With Oracle's growing ERP/CRM/SCM base, its hunger to aquire category BI leaders and the ever increasing demand from the customers for real time analytics, Oracle is positioned well compared to its competition to make that dream real.

Unless SAP comes up with a compelling strategy, Oracle seems to gain the status of monopoly in the enterprise business applications software domain.

Disclaimer: The above thougths are just my opinions. I don't work for Oracle, Hyperion or SAP.

Colin, you wrote "The SAP acquisition of Pilot Software adds capabilities that SAP was lacking".

To be very honest... - having worked for more than 8,5 years as a SAP BI as well as SAP SEM consultant (not for SAP AG itself, but for a consulting company) I definitely can not understand what is the technological or functional "beef" behind the Pilot acquisition. I shortly checked the Pilot web site and their product portfolio. What I have seen so far there is absolutely nothing what I cannot find in SAP Netweaver 2004s usage type Business Intelligence (so the terrible word for it) or what I cannot find in SAP SEM (nowadays not obviously available since they deliver it as part of SAP ERP and here branded as SAP Financials...) The marketing and product branding may be confusing, but the truth is, multidimensional analysis even web based and Balanced Scorecarding functionality is in my opinion nothing specifically reserved to pilot. So, what is really the beef behind this akquisition?

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