Oracle and SAP: Fur Flies as Executive Jumps Ship
It's been an interesting week for the two giants slugging it out in the business software marketplace. First Oracle filed suit against SAP for intellectual property intrusions into its Internet-based repository of product support information... Also this week came the resignation of Shai Agassi, the president of SAP's product and technology group. It was hardly a surprise.
What Makes a BPM Suite a Winner?
I'm updating my BPMS Report series on BPMInstitute.org to the new-and-improved 2007 version. A major change from last year is a beefed-up evaluation scoring. I've discovered that many users go straight to the scorecard at the end of the 25-page report to find out which product "won?" It's probably asking for trouble, but I'm posting my new methodology right here so readers can comment.
CIO Does Not Stand For 'Career Is Over'
…any more than, say, CEO stands for Capability Eludes Opportunity or CFO means Clever Financial Obfuscation - okay, maybe there's something in that last one… On the other hand, neither does CIO stand for Completely Infallible and Omniscient; CIO's need guidance, too. Here's a plethora of educational resources, including a new book on CIO Best Practices.
Lawsuit Spotlights Loyalty As Well As Ethics
The BI industry has long been rife with companies suing one another. Most recently, Hyperion and HyperRoll squabbled about patent infringements, finally agreeing to become partners. Business Objects and MicroStrategy kept counter suing each other over a period of five years, with both parties ultimately declaring victory and neither having to pay one another. Last week, Oracle joined the cacophony by filing claim against SAP.
Prof. Davenport Misses the Point of Analytics
I recently sat in on a keynote presentation by Thomas Davenport of Babson College, who wrote a much-touted article on analytics in Harvard Business Review last year. He identified analytics as a competitive market advantage and illustrated his point with some case studies. It's certainly important to recognize their value, but analytics alone are only a small part of what is missing in business today.
Q&A: SAP on Rich Apps, Architecture and Ajax-Based Portal Enhancements
Rich Internet applications promise interfaces that are more responsive, productive and adaptable to various deployment environments. SAP executives Dennis Moore, General Manager of Emerging Solutions, and Andrew Cabanski-Dunning, marketing director for NetWeaver User Productivity Solutions, discuss the required back-end infrastructure, and they reveal plans for Ajax-powered portal functionality to be introduced at next month's Sapphire event.
InfoWorld Follows (Readers') On-line Path
InfoWorld has announced that their April 2 issue will be the last to appear in print. The magazine follows in the footsteps of Intelligent Enterprise in going on-line only. Like IE, InfoWorld cites the advertisers' desire for "more immediate gratification and measureable results than print can afford them." Yet there's another important factor to on-line delivery that InfoWorld does not explore: reader preferences.
Embed Rules Without Reinventing the Wheel
Business rules show up in a lot of apps. Call centers employ rules for routing, exception-handling, escalation and approvals. Financial services set up rules based on deal value, customer status and regulatory scrutiny. Security software embeds access security rules. And as always, rules are made to be broken, so developers ideally want something that business users can change without having to go to IT.
The Real Issues With XPDL, BPEL and BPMN
Keith Swenson is one of the true superheroes of BPM, and a pioneer in the development of interoperability standards. He periodically feels called upon to insist that XPDL does not compete with BPEL… then usually adding that XPDL is actually better... The latest fracas started when Keith claimed victory from the fact that eight of the 12 vendors in the top-three Gartner Magic Quadrants support XPDL.
In Defense of Hype
As a writer and editor, I felt a twinge of guilt when I read Seth Grimes' blog on hyperbolic PR and "writers and editors who don't have the time, knowledge, and/or judgment to ask the right questions." Seth's last two blogs came about because a SaaS-model BI vendor served up what he felt was self-conscious PR overstating its actual accomplishments. But what's true of this startup company is still true of Salesforce.com and was once true of Google.
On Products, the Press, Analysts and SaaS
"How do companies with such a trivial product get such [extensive] press?" I had written in a recent blog about the claims and the coverage garnered by a BI software as a service (SaaS) company... The person who sent me this question founded a rival company that creates BI solutions using open-source software... Consider the following PR 101 from someone on the receiving end of many press releases.
Study Finds Competency Centers Breed Success
Companies that develop formal practice areas around process management (sometimes described as a "BPM Center of Excellence") are far more likely to succeed than those that don't. That's one of the important conclusions of BP Trends' recent "Survey of Business Process Initiatives."... And what's true for business process management may also apply to business intelligence.
Data Warehouse Appliances Serve Up Information by the Gulp
Promising low cost and fast deployment, data warehouse appliances are increasingly popular, but they're not right for every business. Here's a look inside this emerging class of products, their architecture and their suitability to a range of application and workload requirements.
How BI Can Solve Airline and Passenger Woes
Stranded travelers and lost luggage are daily news items of late. Outraged passengers, grounded on the tarmac for hours, are demanding a Passenger Bill of Rights. Airlines, business intelligence can rescue you! Here is my three-step recipe on how BI can solve airline and passenger woes...
Build a Practical Intranet Development Plan
Managing an intranet seems like an overwhelming task... In most enterprises, the opportunities for internal collaboration and process improvement are, well, limitless...but also very difficult to pull off. That's why I very much like Step Two Designs' new guide, 6x2 methodology for intranets.
Behind IBM's 'Dynamic Data Warehousing' Jargon
You might get lost in buzzwords if you read this week's press release on IBM's "Dynamic Warehousing" strategy. For example, "real-time" showed up at least a couple of times in the release. And my brain starts to hurt whenever someone starts using the phrase "unstructured information," as if documents, e-mail and e-mail are just blobs of text. What do these terms really mean?
The Business Bottleneck May Be Technology
Too often, businesses get little information in return for the millions of dollars they spend on information technology. We've built silos of BI tools attached to ERP and CRM systems that aren't designed to communicate common objectives across business. Even data warehouse efforts haven't automated information processes, instead creating poorly structured libraries of data that business users may not be able to find or access.
Views on BPEL (Re: Oracle, IBM, SAP and Microsoft)
Sandy Kemsley calls attention to an excellent review of BPEL from Oracle's Dave Shaffer and Manoj Das in (ironically) WebSphere Journal. Probably the best summary of the differences between the new BPEL 2.0 and the little-lamented BPEL 1.1 standard that I've seen yet in print. She also notes the seeming fakeness of BPEL4People, a joint SAP-IBM white paper that has achieved the highest buzz-to-bang ratio in the history of BPM.
What's Your BI Competency Center Quotient?
Competency centers are making headway in the BI arena, and they grabbed a lot of attention at this week's Gartner Business Intelligence Summit. BICCs are typically cross-functional teams that develop frameworks of metrics, goals and best practices that can then be shared with business units and departments throughout the organization. Here's what people are saying.
Make the BI/Business Process Connection
"Process-driven BI" has been a big theme at this week's Gartner BI Summit, so I sat in on a presentation by Gartner analyst Gareth Herschel on "Integrating Business Insight With Business Processes." Good presentation, but I wanted to hear more about the direct connections with modeling and management technologies. The performance management and process management camps share the whole idea of a "continuous circle of improvement."
Microsoft Spotlights PerformancePoint
Day Two at the Gartner Business Intelligence Summit was nonstop, with wall-to-wall sessions and appointments with industry blue-chip and challengers. Microsoft, IBM, HP, SAS, Cognos and SAP, among others, weighed in the direction of their products and the direction of the industry. You can visit our photo gallery to get the big picture, but I'll drill down on some of the bigger deals here in my blog… starting with Microsoft.
New from the Hype Machine: BI as SaaS
The launch of LucidEra, an "on-demand, reporting and analysis solution that focuses on simplicity," has generated quite a bit of attention. The company has been put forward as the poster child for software-as-a-service (SaaS) BI, a pacesetter for an emerging BI revolution. My take? The company appears to have spun the impact of a modest, narrowly focused (and perhaps quite nice) solution far out of proportion to its real import.
Gartner BI Market Assessment
The Hyatt Regency Chicago is sold out and the ballrooms, breakout sessions and exhibit hall are seeing heavy, heavy traffic here on the first day of the Gartner BI Summit. If you read our "Summit Preview" there weren't a lot of surprises in Conference Chair Bill Hostmann's opening keynote, but he did share some original market analysis... For one thing, dashboards and scorecars are heading into the trough of disillusionment.
Summit Preview: Graduate to Strategy- and Process-Driven BI
Analyst-driven BI silos are no longer enough. That's the key message at this week's Gartner Business Intelligence Summit in Chicago. Analyst Bill Hostmann details trends and best practices that are putting information and insight to work.
Will BI Wax, Content Management Wane at EMC?
I was surprised to read that Dave DeWalt, one-time EMC rising star and former Documentum CEO, is leaving EMC to take the reigns at McAfee as CEO and president. DeWalt headed Documentum during its most innovative and aggressive years... Meanwhile, EMC CTO Jeff Nick is talking up the importance of BI and analytics and says "read between the lines" on the company's interest in acquisitions.
Is Simulation Fake?
At the recent Gartner BPM Summit, I was shocked to see how high a pedestal the Gartner analysts now place simulation analysis. The BPMS and modeling tool vendors now universally throw it into the box. How else to get into that Magic Quadrant? I haven't looked at all of them myself, but my sampling to date tells me this is a fake feature if ever there was one.
BI On Demand: The List of Options Grows
LucidEra, launched yesterday, joins an ever-growing list of on-demand vendors in and around the BI space. Just last week I spoke to Adaptive Planning and SeaTab, and there's also Oco. These vendors claim to be "the only on-demand… insert qualifier here" but there will soon be plenty to choose from, including spinoffs from some of the industry giants.
How a CMS Can Help Your Web Analytics
Take a closer look at the intersection between Web content management and Web analytics. There are several important issues, but one revolves around the growing tendency to use page tags in lieu of (or in addition to) log files for data collection... A content management system can help by letting administrators embed page-tag code directly into templates.
Straight Dope About Open-Source BI
Six years after the launch of the widely-used open-source Mondrian OLAP server, there's no trace of open-source BI (OSBI) in Gartner's 2007 BI magic quadrant. Yet Mondrian is the core of at least four OSBI suites - JasperAnalysis, OpenI, Pentaho and SpagoBI - and the packagers claim to be "selling" software like hotcakes.
Hear More on the Oracle/Hyperion Deal
Can't get enough insight on Oracle's planned acquisition of Hyperion? Ventata Research analysts Mark Smith, Robert Kugel and David Stodder - that's right, David Stodder - hold an analysts' roundtable discussion and Q&A session on the planned Oracle/Hyperion deal, Tuesday, March 6 at 9 AM PT/12 PM ET.
The Upside of BI Market Consolidation
Other analysts are preoccupied with the Oracle/Hyperion deal, but I'm not. There are so many important things to keep on top of that the financial doings of the industry are only secondary interests for me... Some worry about consolidation of the market. I don't. There are dozens of companies waiting in the wings to become the next Hyperion... These deals are usually about buying either a client list, a sales force or maintenance revenue stream.
Oracle's Hyperion Buy Marks BI Sea Change
Yesterday's blockbuster announcement confirms the trend toward consolidation in the business intelligence and performance management markets. Here's a look at the impact on BI competitors and Hyperion products.
Score One for Oracle: Can SAP Stay in the Game?
It has been clear for a while that Oracle needed to make a strategic acquisition to elevate its standing with corporate finance organizations, so few were surprised when Oracle announced today its intention to acquire Hyperion. When it comes to Finance, Hyperion is, after all, the biggest kid on the block from customer, revenue and product-line perspectives... The most interesting question out of today's announcement, though, concerns not Oracle but its rival SAP.
Hyperion Deal Puts Pressure on SAP and IBM
Every BI and performance management vendor has come out of the woodwork to offer an opinion on the Oracle/Hyperion deal. I'm gathering those comments and will share a few soon enough, but the companies I'm really anxious to hear from are SAP and IBM (and maybe HP belongs on that list as well). Consolidation happens in every technology market. It only goes one way, and every big, stand-alone vendor ultimately has a price.
Oracle to Buy Hyperion: A Look Behind the Scenes
So much for rumors! This morning, Oracle announced its intent to acquire Hyperion Solutions … not Business Objects as the rumor mill previously suggested. With performance management and BI slowly converging and arch competitor Microsoft about to release a complete product set, it's a smart but aggressive move on Oracle's part. For Hyperion, I only hope that the best people and products don't get lost in the shuffle.