Friday, March 2, 2007

A Giant On The Move

The news is out, and the speculation has been confirmed: Oracle is going to buy Hyperion for a cool USD$3.3 billion. The purpose of the move is to let Oracle have a crack at toppling SAP from its enterprise systems pedestal, and so is only partly to do with the BI industry. Oracle's President Charles Phillip must have struggled to keep the smirk off his face when he announced:

Thousands of SAP customers rely on Hyperion as their financial consolidation, analysis and reporting system of record... Now Oracle's Hyperion software will be the lens through which SAP's most important customers view and analyze their underlying SAP ERP data.
Indeed, Cognos and Business Objects seem to be sitting back and enjoying the show a bit - they seem to think they'll pick up a few rats jumping ship as Hyperion/SAP customers re-evaluate their software license portfolio. Or maybe it's more to do with the anticipation that they'll be looked at as a potential marriage partner for SAP.

So what does this mean for the BI landscape? Probably not a lot. SAP may pick up one of the other BI vendors. Hyperion customers will probably get crappier service, but then that's already been happening apparently as Hyperion has grown. Fewer players in the market place will also lessen the likelihood of any fundamental innovation in the kinds of BI products available - but then the current crop of players don't really seem to be doing anything earth-shattering in that respect either. In reality, this is an ERP industry story that will encourage the view that BI is just another module of an enterprise system that provides enterprise reporting.