As we predicted more than three years ago, BI software and services are converging. Yesterday, Deloitte announced its acquisition of the assets of the BI SaaS vendor Oco. This is a great confirmation of several trends:
- BI is hot. All of the leading management consultancies and systems integrators are putting BI at the top of their priority lists.
- BI is all about software plus services. There’s no such thing as “plug-and-play” BI. One always needs to bundle it with services to integrate data, customize metrics and applications, etc.
- BI is a perfect fit for any firm with a software-plus-services offering, as demonstrated by IBM when it acquired PWC, Cognos, and SPSS. Or when HP acquired Knightsbridge and Vertica. Or when EMC acquired Conchango and Greenplum.
- BI SaaS, which is what Oco offers, is still a niche in a much larger market of on-premises and hosted (same as on-premises, just hosted by a vendor – very different from SaaS), but it’s growing rapidly. Especially in the SMB sector, where internal IT resources don’t have enough bandwidth, capabilities, or budget to deliver BI apps in house. Or where business users don’t have the experience, expertise, or time to tell their own IT resources how to design and build such analytical applications, and want to leverage the business expertise of the SaaS vendors.
- Many players are looking to expand into BI. In a similar move, Accenture acquired CadenceQuest last year.
Hopefully, more similar acquisitions are on the way. Who’s next? GoodData, PivotLink, and Birst would be at the top of my list.
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