Sunday, October 07, 2007

SAP to buy Business Objects

Vendor consolidation in the business intelligence (BI) space continues with SAP announcing its acquisition of Business Objects, one of the last independent best-of-breed vendors of such solutions.

The move is, in a way, an answer to Oracle's acquisition of Hyperion, a Business Objects competitor, earlier this year. Although SAP already has significant BI capabilities, it apparently felt the need to strengthen its offerings. Its acquisition of Business Objects certainly fills the bill.

Consolidation in the BI market has been going on for some time now. In 2003, Business Objects itself acquired Crystal Decisions, a popular developer of end-user reporting tools, used by quite a few enterprise system vendors. Shortly thereafter, Hyperion acquired Brio. As mentioned above, both Hyperion and Business Objects now are part of the two leading enterprise system providers.

SAP indicated that it intends to continue to operate Business Objects as a separate business. This will limit the cost-savings that SAP will realize from the deal, but it will probably be more attractive to customers that don't necessarily want to be tied to SAP. As the Wall Street Journal points out, it also helps SAP avoid having to deal with French laws that limit the ability of employers to conduct layoffs. Business Objects is headquartered in France.

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