SAP’s acquisition strategy has leaned toward smaller companies and avoided costly and disruptive large-scale buys. However the company broke with this tradition by capturing Business Objects for $6.8 billion, reinforcing the increasingly important role of BI in the corporate landscape and vaulting SAP from #7 to #1 in the BI market.
Prior to the acquisition Business Objects was already number one in
BI with 14.3% of the market (source: AMR, 2006). Adding SAP’s 3.4% BI
share brings the combined total to 17.7%. with SAS still in second
position at 10.9%. Both Business Objects and SAP experienced modest
growth in share levels 2004-2006, but Microsoft led the industry
with 30% share gains and revenue gains in excess of 25% annually.
Stephan Gruber, SAP VP-IR said recently:
“…the offer for Business Objects is for a much larger
acquisition than we have done in the past… the concept behind this
acquisition remains the same, enabling our customers to benefit from an
even richer portfolio of innovative products and solutions.
It’s not about acquiring customers, market share or maintenance.
With the acquisition of Business Objects, we instantly become the
market leader in a high growth area that we were not the leader in
previously. SAP’s direction has always been clear delivering innovative
and market leading products to our customers and profitable growth to
There isn’t a clear customer
value proposition emerging from the acquisition yet – and many
investors and industry analysts have been cool to skeptical on the
merger’s benefits to SAP and its customers. But for SAP customers,
Business Objects does have some unique and compelling tools – high
among them the Inxight unstructured discovery software.
Following are two sources to
aid in understanding BO/BI. In the future I will comment on the roadmap
alternatives for as-is SAP BI environments.