Significant Industry Announcements, With Commentary

By Geoffrey James

Computer Associates announced the acquisition of InfoSec Inc., a mainframe identity and access management solution that’s intended to protect enterprise IT environments by automatically identifying and removing obsolete, unused and rogue user IDs and access rights.
Our take: This is a smart acquisition for CA. For years IT groups have virtually ignored security, but now the government is forcing firms to comply with stringent security requirements. If you’re selling against CA, you want to keep positioning CA as a troubled company with lingering management problems and legal liabilities. If you’re selling for CA, leaning on the security issue could literally scare up some new business.

IBM announced it will acquire Ascential Software, a provider of enterprise data integration software that allows customers to build data warehouses, business intelligence systems, consolidated enterprise applications and repositories of business information.
Our take: Since IBM has been claiming for more than a decade that their software does exactly what Ascential’s software is supposed to do, this is probably an attempt to acquire market share rather than significantly extend IBM’s product line – Ascential has more than 3,000 customers and partners across all major industries. If you’re selling against IBM in this area, emphasize IBM’s tendency to let software acquisitions languish and that IBM software, in general, tends to be clunky and overly concerned with backward compatibility issues. If you’re selling for IBM, emphasize, as always, that IBM is a one-stop-shop that has a long record of successful implementations.

Oracle announced the availability of Oracle Business Intelligence 10g, a standalone product designed to address the entire spectrum of business analytics, including query, application development, reporting and analysis, data integration and management. The product comprises query, reporting and analysis with dashboard; direct access from within Microsoft Excel; data quality features; and custom application development.
Our take: Oracle is likely to be a strong competitor in this application area because business analytics are tightly linked to databases, which is Oracle’s core strength. If you’re selling against Oracle, the best approach is to slam the company on feature and function limitations because Oracle’s applications are coded to be integrated with Oracle’s database rather than best in breed. If you’re selling for Oracle, push the Business Intelligence 10g release as an example of how Oracle understands today’s business environment better than Microsoft (see below).

Microsoft announced acquisition of a business analytics tool called OLAP cubes that allows organizations to examine and analyze data from different angles.
Our take: Microsoft’s strategy for business analytics and business intelligence is a hodgepodge of point tools. If you sell against Microsoft, emphasize that Microsoft’s strategy consists of applications that provide special functions, rather than an integrated approach. If you’re a Microsoft reseller, you probably don’t want to pitch business intelligence until Microsoft better packages its offerings.

SAP announced shipment of its latest version of mySAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, which features business analytics, financials, human capital management, operations and corporate services functionality.
Our Take: It’s hard to say whether this release is a bug fix or something substantive because the 1,700 word SAP press release says absolutely nothing of substance. If you’re selling against SAP and your firm has top-quality marketing materials, this is a good time to get them read by SAP customers in your territory. If you’re selling for SAP, find out what’s actually in this product version, list the new features in a short email and send it to your current customers so they know what they’ll actually be getting if they upgrade.