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9/17/2007
11:04 AM
Doug Henschen
Doug Henschen
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Process, Prediction and Icahn's Interest in BEA

It's pretty clear to me that the business process management and operational performance management camps are singing from the same hymn book these days. Throw in the business rule and predictive analytics camps and you've got a quartet singing in four-part harmony. The question is, when and which vendors will start putting this stuff together? Could Carl Icahn's interest in BEA spark some serious deal making?



It's pretty clear to me that the business-process- management and operational-performance- management camps are singing from the same hymn book these days. Throw in the business-rule and predictive-analytics camps and you've got a quartet singing in four-part harmony. The question is, when and which vendors will move beyond marketing deals and start putting this stuff together? Could Carl Icahn's interest in BEA spark some serious deal making?Perhaps I'm mashing together too many ideas here, but I haven't seen a BPM press release all year that didn't include at least one mention of an analytic/business intelligence upgrade. And lately, big BI vendors are falling all over themselves to talk about performance management. Okay, Business Objects and Cognos have been talking mainly about financial performance management in recent weeks, but their next salvos will branch into areas like supply chain, where many BPM vendors offer end-to-end process improvement (and don't forget Business Object's acquisition of nSite).

As Jim Taylor and Neil Raden have cogently observed in their recent book, Smart Enough Systems, it's time for analytics and prediction to get in sync with operational decision making in real time. This morning I noticed SPSS talking about "Predictive Enterprise Services… facilitating process improvement" as part of its SPSS 16.0 launch. This put me in mind of TIBCO CEO Vivek Ranadivé and his book "The Power to Predict."

One of TIBCO's rivals is BEA Systems, which late last week gained the attention of billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who seems to think it's time for the company to find a buyer. BEA isn't as up on BI and prediction as is TIBCO, which this year acquired Spotfire, but they are rivals on the BPM and SOA fronts (along with Software AG, another mid-sized vendor with BPM and SOA prowess, bolstered most recently by its acquisition of webMethods).

Maybe I'm free associating here, but I think BEA is too big of a plum not to cause another wave of IT consolidation. To my mind, BPM and business rules vendors are ripe for acquisition, and as my friend Seth Grimes has observed, predictive analytics vendors are also low-hanging fruit. The only question is, which vendors have the appetite to start picking?It's pretty clear to me that the business process management and operational performance management camps are singing from the same hymn book these days. Throw in the business rule and predictive analytics camps and you've got a quartet singing in four-part harmony. The question is, when and which vendors will start putting this stuff together? Could Carl Icahn's interest in BEA spark some serious deal making?

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