I missed this one earlier this month. Microsoft is building out its offerings for business intelligence tools with an acquisition of niche BI vendor Proclarity.
The move makes a lot of sense. Business intelligence continues to be a hot market, as companies of all sizes are putting more and more information into databases but are finding that its not as easy to pull it out and make sense of it. Secondly, the market for business intelligence software is highly fragmented, with many small players, such as ProClarity. Although there has been some vendor consolidation already (e.g. Business Objects acquisition of Crystal Decisions, and Hyperion's merger with Brio, both in 2003
), there is much room for more. Although Proclarity only has about 150 employees, it is a well-respected name and Microsoft is smart to snap it up now before someone else tries.
From a technology perspective, the deal also makes sense. ProClarity's offerings already interoperate well with Microsoft's Excel, SQL Server, and SharePoint. Microsoft says that it plans to integrate ProClarity into its Server Platform business, which means buyers of Microsoft SQL Server will be less likely to third-party solutions to fill their business intelligence and reporting needs. Builder AU
has more on the deal, including other steps that Microsoft is taking to strengthen its position in business intelligence.