Friday, October 12, 2007

SAP Customers on Business Objects;’s VC Fund | AMR Research

SAP Customers on Business Objects;’s VC Fund | AMR Research

SAP Customers on Business Objects
by Bruce Richardson

By now, you know that SAP is buying Business Objects. (See “SAP Buys Business Objects” below in News of Note for more details.) When the deal is completed in 1Q08, SAP will have the broadest business intelligence / performance management (BI/PM) offering in the world. That’s both good news and bad news. If anything, SAP will have too many products.

I spent two days last week with 15 IT executives at an SAP event, and they all wanted to talk about the Business Objects deal. Ironically, the last time I saw most of these people was the week after Oracle announced that it was buying Hyperion for $3.3B. Many were Hyperion customers, too.

When I asked how many had Business Objects software in their companies, more than two-thirds of the executives raised their hand. I then asked whether they had Hyperion, and the same people raised their hand again. It will be interesting to see whether these executives can get their companies to adopt SAP-Business Objects as their standard or if they will continue to support a multivendor BI/PM world.

When Oracle bought Hyperion, several of the SAP customers I talked with were looking at big Hyperion upgrade bills. They were hoping that SAP would soon unveil plans for bolstering its business consolidation software. Six months later, they are still waiting for SAP to declare its plans for weaning them off of Hyperion.

SAP won’t be able to discuss its plans for Business Objects until the deal closes. The customers I talked with were concerned about which of the SAP and Business Objects products will survive. This is a bit unsettling for those that have already started down the Pilot Software or OutlookSoft path.

At the SAP event, several CIOs told me that their Business Objects reps were filling their BlackBerrys with invitations to seminars or requests to meet. I would expect the Business Objects reps to be very aggressive; I’m sure all good salespeople are racing to drain their pipelines before the deal closes.

What should SAP customers do for BI/PM? In next week’s First Thing Monday, we’ll look at areas SAP needs to address for this to work.

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