Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Business Intelligence Market Analysis: A Quick Take

The specialized players in the Business Intelligence market (Business Objects, Cognos etc.) are facing increased threat of forward integration from the major players in the database world. This is not surprising, given that a majority of analytical applications rely on RDBMS as the data source. The recent offerings by Oracle via their BI Beans, IBM with their boosting the DB2 functionality significantly with OLAP capabilities signal the turn that the industry is making. It will be interesting to see the strategies of the niche BI vendors to effectively compete with the database vendors. The other threat of new entrants into the BI market comes from vendors specializing in technologies that hereto supported the BI function. For example, Informatica was content with the ETL function supporting the underlying data warehouse, however they have made a move to transgress into the dashboard world via their Power Analyzer tool. Though not a direct threat to the entrenched players like Cognos, Business Objects and MicroStrategy, I consider this move to be a sort of a "test the waters before the plunge" tactic. There has been diversification from the core competency by the niche players themselves: observe Business Objects' Data Integrator and Cognos' Decision Stream which transgresses on Informatica's turf. What does all this mean to me as a worker bee in the analytics space? Well, the added competition on one hand dilutes my own "product offering" i.e. my skill set. To keep up with the evolving market, I need to evolve my own skills to at least understand the integration and differentiation of these products. On the other hand, the increased competition promotes product innovation and imposes a downward pressure on prices (something that is not happened yet, but will eventually come about). Keep an eye out for the evolution of this space, I am predicting there will be another round of a consolidation exercise very soon.

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