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For years analysts have asked suppliers “so which market are you in – BI or CPM?” Suppliers were somewhat coy about the answer. BI and CPM were perceived as distinct and separate markets. BI was the high margin Cash Cow and CPM was the Question Mark in the portfolio. Suppliers did not want to risk cashflow from the large $7bn BI market by gambling on the smaller $1bn CPM market. Hence supplier commitment to a CPM marketing message or a BI marketing message vacillated depending on whether cashflow or new market penetration was the current key directive. But all has now changed.
2006 was a great year for the CPM vendors and most registered 30%+ revenue growth. Sniffing opportunity, supplier indecisiveness vapourised overnight. The answer to the “which market are you in?” question has been categorically answered: “BOTH”.
All the BI vendors are now firmly positioning themselves in the PM market. Business Objects will shortly unveil ambitious PM plans based on their acquisitions of ALG and SRC. Cognos boasts an Innovation Centre that delivers industry sector CPM solutions in Cognos Performance Blueprints. It now talks openly of “Cognos BI/PM solutions”. SAP (with SEM) and Oracle (touting both its own CPM suite and the ex-PeopleSoft EPM suite) are pushing new BI and CPM solutions as part of their ‘enterprise solution stacks’. SAS is leveraging its analytics market leadership position into enterprise PM products. Microsoft will launch its PerformancePoint PM suite in 2007.
Paradoxically Hyperion is moving in the opposite direction. Having led the CPM market from its inception it is now reverting to its BI roots and will present ‘Why Buy BI from a Performance Management Vendor’ at the upcoming Gartner BI Summit.
So what’s next for the BI/PM vendors? BI as a category will gradually disappear, as OLAP did before BI. “Content Intelligence” will become the new category and the next holy grail. Already SAS, IBM and Cognos are offering enterprise search for unstructured data – emails, Word, PDF documents and the like.
If the BI/PM vendors can combine their mastery of data intelligence (as in BI) with text intelligence (as in document management) to slice and dice, drill down, and aggregate data and text for any question a user might care to ask, then customers will really have something to rave about – a way of emulating the way we currently work with paper. The answers to “where did I put that file?”, “what does this information and data mean for the business?” and “what is the context for these conclusions?” will become only a mouse click away. The adoption of SOA will make this easier. Structured and unstructured data management software tools will converge facilitated by SOA.
Expect more acquisitions and new competitors in the Content Intelligence space. HP’s recent acquisition of BI/PM provider Knightsbridge is ominous, as is Google’s emerging presence in the Corporates with its Google (enterprise) Search Appliance – British Airways is a reference customer.
But what of the pure-play BI and PM vendors? In PM the likes of CorVu and Pilot will provide specialist niche market solutions to government, healthcare, and other markets where specialist non-standard PM solutions are required. BI 2.0 will emerge, but in a slightly different form than most commentators are predicting. High growth vendors such as QlikTech, Spotfire, and Tableau offer fast, flexible, highly interactive and visual solutions for knowledge workers. BI 2.0 will be for the scientific, technical, and professional knowledge workers – the rest of us will access more basic BI functionality and reporting as part of enterprise-wide performance management systems.