Page Two

By Dennis Callaghan  |  Posted 2004-11-22 Print this article Print

How has Oracles takeover bid for PeopleSoft affected your business? Well, not much really. These are different decisions right now. … We have a strong relationship with Oracle and PeopleSoft. PeopleSoft has integrated Crystal as their new reporting engine. But also theyve declared Business Objects as their BI partner of choice. But we do the same thing with Oracle. Also, SAP embeds Crystal and Business Objects. So we have very strong partners, and whats important for us right now is to maintain that neutrality and continue to work with everyone. So far, it doesnt seem to have really affected our business.
So it sounds like youre saying that even though you have a close relationship with PeopleSoft, it wouldnt make much of a difference since you work pretty closely with Oracle as well?
We do work very closely with Oracle today. So I think the relationship would stay and it would be strengthened. They know they can rely on us on both the Oracle side and the PeopleSoft side. So we wouldnt have to compete against another partner that would have a better partnership. When Oracle works with a partner in BI, they work with us because were the only one who is building integration with Oracle 9i to the level weve done. Were very complementary to what they do. We dont compete against their applications, we dont compete against their core database offering—whereas Cognos does—so thats why they prefer working with us. Arent you seeing more direct competition from enterprise application vendors such as SAP AG and Siebel Systems Inc.? Siebel announced its entry into the BI space about this time a year ago. I think were seeing a little more from these vendors. Siebel clearly has an offering tied to their CRM offering. They play the integration and the vertical stack, so we see them in their installed base but not outside at all. I think initially Siebel had an intent to be broader than their installed base, but it has not worked out. I think companies either are going to take an integrated offering from the application or theyre going to take a pure-play to cover the whole enterprise. But we see them a little bit in their installed base. SAP [is] the same, although they dont really have an offering yet. Currently, they partner with Business Objects, so when a company gets [SAP Business Warehouse], they get the Crystal offering as part of it. So theres much more partnership with SAP than competition at this point. But definitely the big question going forward is whos going to lead in business intelligence? Independent players like Business Objects or vertically integrated companies like Siebel? I believe PeopleSoft has found the right strategy, which is they embed BI as part of their offering, but instead of recreating the tool, they embed the platform from the leader. Actuate Corp. is pushing a shared Eclipse-based framework that all the vendors in the space could use as a foundation on which to build query and reporting technology. Does Business Objects support that? Were not yet part of Eclipse the same way Actuate is. But I would say the open-source initiative is something were watching very closely right now. Crystal is the reporting engine that is the most widely used right now. So, obviously, in a world that opens up to an even larger number of developers, thats something that is potentially appealing to us. We have not announced anything, but thats something were definitely looking into. I am a board member of a company called MySQL, which is the leader in open source database, so I know this business quite well. It has a lot of potential for changing the way the software industry works in the future. So do you think open source will be a reality for business intelligence down the road, and if so how soon will we see that? I dont think its going to be a reality for all software everywhere, but I think it will play a role. I think whats important is to really think through the strategy around this initiative. I think Actuate, in my opinion, had more of a knee-jerk reaction in trying to create a new position for themselves in a world that has become much harder with larger companies. Actuates revenue now license-wise is really a fraction of the leaders in the space. So it gets tougher. I think its something where you will see companies like ours make some moves, but they will be calculated moves in the future. Next page: Patent disputes.


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