Hot on the heels of SAP’s announcement in October that it intends to acquire Business Objects for $US4.8 billion, IBM last week announced its intention to acquire Cognos for $US5 billion. Both these follow Oracle’s acquisition of Hyperion Solutions in April for $US3.3 billion, in effect leaving The SAS Institute (SAS) as the only Tier 1 BI supplier to government not aligned with a major software vendor.
This move will make it potentially easier for agencies to acquire business intelligence as part of integrated solutions offered by the big three, but make the level of BI activity by agencies far less visible in contracts data.
Intermedium's 3-year ranking of BI suppliers to the Federal Government places Cognos at Number 2 and IBM at Number 4. SAS was ranked number 1 over the three years and NCR Number 3. Hyperion and Business Objects were amongst the top ten.
Given that SAP and Oracle are two of the three suppliers invited into the restricted tender process for the NSW Department of Commerce Enterprise Resouce Planning (ERP) Government Selected Application System (GSAS) panel contract, it will be interesting to see whether Commerce creates a separate panel contract for BI.
This is IBM's 23rd acquisition to support its 'information on demand' strategy, announced in 2001. Other software companies with a presence in Australian government markets acquired as part of this strategy have been Princeton Softech, FileNet, Ascential and Informix. Despite these acquisitions, IBM's recent sales performance in the Federal Government market has been hugely dominated by its involvement in IT Services projects, such as DIAC's Systems for People system integration work and its managed services contracts at the Department of Veteran's Affairs and Customs.