Wednesday, April 02, 2008

HammerTime!

As you no doubt have been hearing if you’re either at the Gartner BI conference this week, or if you’re a regular reader of all the hip, happening IT publications, InfoWorld (among others) has the scoop on the long awaited announcement of which SAP and Business Objects products made the cut, and which did not.

There seemed to be some degree of confusion between what was said at last week’s SAP BI and Portals conference, and what appeared in print, but with no revisions or corrections coming out after the initial wave or articles, our bet is that what’s on paper is what’s happening.

Interestingly, these announcements don’t deal with the entirety of the product overlap—by John Schwarz’ own admission, product decisions on Crystal Reports, Web Intelligence, Dashboard Builder, Voyager Visual Analyzer and BEx BI are still outstanding, so there’s clearly more to come here. But still, we start to get a clear idea of who won out in the product battles:

· Planning—looks like OutlookSoft is the big winner here, perhaps not surprising given the investment SAP was already making in the product; one wonders what will happen to the joint BOBJ/Cartesis new planning product effort bringing a new planning product to market—likely shelved. Also shelved is the ALG and unfortunately, SRC planning products

· Consolidations—interestingly, they announced 2 solutions—kind of “enterprise” and “mid-market” if you will (although they would likely argue on this classification, but his is how analysts are already referring to them). Cartesis, with its large European install base, gets the nod on the enterprise side, while OutlookSoft is on point down stream. Again, a good breakdown, and there were relatively few SRC consolidations customers, and clearly Cartesis was the product of the future here.

· Dashboarding—this one may cause some chafing. They’ve decided to go with the Pilot dashboarding product, and will ditch the Dashboard Manager product from Business Objects. Given the number of customers on the BOBJ technology vs. the Pilot install base, this is not an insignificant move. However, given some of the known architectural and technological limitations of the BOBJ products, they obviously felt that the Pilot product had a more robust technological foundation and didn’t come with many of the scalability issues that Business Objects often had with these products.

· Profitability—no surprise here, as the ALG functionality wins out, and the agreement with Acorn will be undone. ALG, while not selling a ton of product for Business Objects, was a great pick-up, and gave the company a huge dose of credibility in the EPM marketplace, both from the IP they picked up from the company management, as well as the technology itself. The goal now is to scale the skill set for the product into the SAP channel, which should really help sales.

Overall, not too many surprises, outside of the dashboarding strategy. Everyone pretty much knew that SRC was not long for this world, although the team was doing some really interesting things associated with the mid market efforts of BOBJ, so hopefully the product will live on in some form or function; and the vertical expertise and IP (and so forth…) should aid the OutlookSoft application, although that’s not an insignificant effort right there.

Next up: aligning the staffing resources around the product decisions. Hey wait, is there any connection here to the number of resume’s in my inbox lately?

Naahhh…. (man I’ve turned cynical in my old age).

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