Page Three

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

Business Objects has been on both ends of the patent disputes in the BI space. Isnt that bad for the industry when companies have these intellectual property disputes and start suing each other? I think in the end, patents are about protecting innovation, not preventing innovation. I think that has been the core of innovation in the U.S. for a long time. So I dont think its bad for the industry. What I would say is the way its done is not very efficient. The way patents are being filed is somewhat random. The way theyre being reviewed is somewhat random. The way the cases are being tried … this whole process, the execution of the mechanics of the process is not very efficient, I would say. But I think the principle of patents is still a very good principle. What did you think of Hyperion Solutions Corp.s move to get more into the business intelligence space when they had been talking so much about business performance management before? It seems many companies are going back and forth in emphasizing business intelligence over business performance management, and vice versa.
A number of companies have been changing their positioning about what they want to do depending on whats hot at the moment. Hyperion at its core is a financial application company, a company that does planning, budgeting and consolidation. Thats what theyre good at, thats what their core competency has been. I think that what theyve seen is that they needed to have more reporting as part of their offering. So they bought Brio because they wanted to have more ownership of that piece. I dont believe they have a way to become a BI vendor per se. BI has become a big industry where the investment required in order to have a credible offering is significant. At Business Objects we have close to 1,200 developers in the space.
Click here to read more about Hyperions BI offerings. Also, I think one of the reasons why Hyperion got into that space is because Cognos [Inc.] went into their space. Cognos was a pure-play BI vendor and decided to go into CPM. They did it by acquiring a budgeting company, Adaytum; now they just acquired a consolidation company, Frango, in Sweden. So suddenly they compete there, and their advantage over Hyperion is that they also have reporting. A couple of years ago, a number of the companies thought that BI was not interesting anymore, was not sexy, and therefore it was more exciting to paint this picture of CPM as the only thing that was interesting. And now theres a lot of reversal where Cognos is pushing ReportNet for reporting, which was a boring thing two years ago [but] now is very exciting. Hyperion has Brio. Whereas at Business Objects, weve stayed very focused. Were a BI company—we dont need to do anything else beyond BI. We think as part of BI, reporting is key, so thats why we acquired Crystal, but the Crystal acquisition was a double-down on BI. But you still have a business performance management strategy as well, dont you? Yes, but its very different than the Cognos or the Hyperion one. The problem is therere different meanings behind the same words. Our vision of performance management is that its the strong evolution of BI, where instead of using BI just to analyze the past, you use BI to drive future performance. For that, you need to align strategy to execution by putting in place systems like dashboards, scorecards, metrics, goal-setting, and so on, but always across the entire enterprise—across customers, supply chain, HR, finance, and so on—as opposed to doing budgeting and consolidation. To me, its a very different type of system. And putting that in the same category as analytic applications and dashboards/scorecards, I think is a misrepresentation of what the reality is. Cognos has plunged into that area, Hyperion was there in the first place, but to me, its very different. We believe in performance management as a key driver for BI in the future but with a very different approach than Cognos and Hyperion. Next page: Plans for the future.


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