Enterprise 2.0 funding.

I’ve read that Trampoline systems has received significant funding.   (Jerry covered it here)

London, UK, 15 March 2007 – Trampoline Systems, a London- based enterprise software start-up, has today announced the closing of a £3 million financing round from entities affiliated with the Tudor Group1. Trampoline is the first European “Enterprise 2.0” software developer to receive major investor backing. The  investment enables Trampoline to increase sales operations, intensify R&D and establish a strategic presence in North
America. Trampoline brings a fresh approach to information management with technology that harnesses social behaviour in the enterprise. The deal provides further evidence that a new generation of enterprise software, dubbed “Enterprise 2.0”, is gaining traction with established organisations

I’d suggest you have a look at the Enron demo  and think about the implications this sort of tool could have on internal networking. At the risk of going all cluetrainy again, this is all about the hyperlinked organisation.

I’ve noticed that Trampoline has been doing some work with Oracle, and received an innovation award from them.  I’d love to see Trampoline connected to SAP. If Craig can connect Zoho of an evening, then why not Trampoline too? I can imagine all sorts of HR and Compliance uses for Sonar and Metascope.

Stumbling on Trampoline makes it blatantly obvious to me that Enterprise 2.0 applications are becoming more than just wikis, blogs, tagging tools, and sweet ajaxy front-ends.  There are far reaching implications for search and especially social analytics. It seems to me that Wiki and other social media tool providers will need to step up their analytical capabilities.

 The mind boggles. It may be time to dust off the sociology and  statistics – Organisational Network Analysis may just be the next big thing. (well, okay it started in 1934)

This is exactly what I was discussing with a friend of mine from a large mobile phone company yesterday in an HR strategy context here in Walldorf. How do you discover who are your best collaborators and knowledge sharers? Where are the information bottlenecks? How do you design a better organisation?  How do you encourage the right behaviours?

Euan Semple’s advice to  get out the way of enterprise 2.0 and let the people get on with it has  appeal, and he has the experience from the BBC to prove it. But I think the really  clever organisations will go one step further. Once things are up and running, they will analyse collaboration and conversion; optimise organisation design, process, reward and so on for the hyperlinked organisation.  Sales managers are MBOed on sales figures, yet analysing collaboration may help us build better and fairer models to reward the performance of knowledge workers, which today is a hit and miss exercise.

The view of emergence (or enterprise 2.0)  as an underground, revolutionary movement will disappear pretty quickly when those who run organisations understand its power, and start using it themselves. Once upon a time wearing blue jeans and having long hair in a ponytail  was a sign of rebellion.

There is a fair bit brewing in development with regards to Enterprise 2.0  here at SAP, but I think there will be plenty of white space to work with folks like Trampoline, Atlassian, Socialtext, Connectbeam  and so on.  Update: Steve Mann chats about SAP and Enterprise 2.0.

 Congratulations to Charles and his team at Trampoline Systems for the funding.

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SAP, Microsoft, Duet, Dynamics etc.

I will avoid anymore naff musical puns.

A few weeks ago I caught up with Udo Waibel, the lead guy for Duet.  A bit of this post has been lurking in my inbox for a while, but the recent discussions of Duet v Microsoft Dynamics has made me revisit it and post it.

Dennis, sleepless in San Diego, has been blogging up a storm about the Microsoft convergence conference. From what he tells me MSFT are getting their act in order with Dynamics. The GUI screenprints I have seen look good. (see Mary Jo’s post here)

Mary Jo’s coverage of Microsoft is a must read. She has been at it for years.  And for now I’ll leave the “do Microsoft get SaaS or not?” story to Phil.  But I would like to pick up on the point that both Phil and Dennis make about Duet, it may not be as straight-forward as they suggest.

Phil notes:

Duet was just a learning experience and SAP is welcome to it. The strategic product for Microsoft is Dynamics Client for Office, which as Mary Jo Foley observed yesterday, “in addition to functioning as a new user interface layer — also is a new Client Access License (CAL) for Dynamics ERP users.” What’s interesting about this is that partners can use it as a platform for building new interfaces into the data and processes that execute on a Dynamics back-end. This is a perfect legacy migration strategy that allows Microsoft to keep its partners and customers hooked on Office and Windows without being shackled by the constraints of Microsoft’s ERP software. Crucially, by decoupling the user interface from the back-end, it also makes it easier to implement hosted ERP services without impacting the user experience

Dennis notes:

Dynamics through Outlook, the business standard for organising and representing communications for both desktop and mobile usage. All of which is a kick in the teeth for SAP. Phil Wainewright best sums up the feeling I got from many commentators attending Convergence:
Duet was just a learning experience and SAP is welcome to it.

I’d  have been flabbergasted if the Dynamics folks said anything else. I remember last year seeing bunches of sour grapes over on channel 9 from the Dynamics team. The reaction of the Dynamics team to Duet is exactly what my reaction was 5 years ago when I saw a demo from SAP portal guys of PeopleSoft HR in the SAP portal.   Obviously, in the greater good of things offering integration to PeopleSoft made sense, but as an SAP HR sales person, the last thing I wanted to hear was that we could seemlessly integrate with the darkside. This is a family blog, so I won’t publish what I said.

The business reality is that both are important to Microsoft. Slick integration with Office, Sharepoint and Dynamics will help blunt any potential shift to other office suites in the SME space. Sharepoint is probably the big winner, rather than Dynamics. Good move Microsoft.

Duet continues to help drive the upgrade to newer versions of office (it needs at least office 2003), especially in the the large enterprise space. Good move for Microsoft too.

Josh Greenbaum’s take is well worth a look. He has a frog fetish at the moment.

No good idea goes unchallenged, and today’s announcement at the Microsoft Dynamics Convergence conference that Office has become the new client for its enterprise applications suite follows on the extraordinary success that the Office gang has already registered in the SAP market. That success , aka Duet, has been one of the bright spots in SAP’s otherwise lackluster financial performance of late.

The comments on Mary-Jo post make for an interesting read too. 

I expected much more since Microsoft is at least a year later than the SAP/Microsoft Duet release. Microsoft promised they learned from Duet, but this stuff has worse usability, doesn’t work on Office 2003, and has about 1/10 the business processes covered compared to SAP Duet. If this is the best Microsoft can do alone, they should stay in a Duet rather than going solo!

Indeed if Dynamics was really that strategic to Microsoft, lots of this cool stuff would be on Office 2003 and XP. In cycling terms, Dynamics is a domestique to Office and Vista, helping them up the hill, but  in the end, dispensible. Having the Dynamics folks pushing outlook etc as a front-end will add momentum to Duet, not take it away. 

So let’s put Duet in context now, based on my chat with Udo.

Duet is rocking. It has sold over 300,000 users. (a recent deal announced here) Rolling out internally this year at SAP.

The functionality is growing, and attacking some thorny business challenges..something that is planned is –

Legal Contract Authoring (LCA) has been added to the list of scenarios becoming available in Summer 2007 with Duet 1.5. LCA offers an effective link between contract creation, negotiation, execution as well as the sourcing process within context of the mySAP SRM application in an intuitive Microsoft Word and Outlook environment. It is a rich process offering flexible collaboration and workflow capabilities that allow for the re-use of templates, automated integration of legal contracts with operational contract and sourcing processes.

(note this is not a statement of what will be delivered just in case some US Gaapers are reading this)

Several of the early adopters are consulting firms.  The cynical types will say this is so that they can have a competitive advantage in delivering the services around Duet, but I think otherwise. Consulting firms are notoriously skint when it comes to IT spend, or put more politely, I have found consulting firms to be very business case driven when it comes to technology deployments. Time and activity recording are key to consulting firms, after all, that is their main revenue source.  Knowing when employees are planning holiday is pretty important if you are running big projects.

And, I keep finding Apples in the oddest places. If you watch the demo video on www.duet.com, you will see what I mean. I guess it is running parallels.

Oh, and finally, I bring you the blog of a Duet developer based in Israel, Eran’s Developer Zen..

Technorati tags: SAP, Duet, Dynamics, Microsoft, enterprise irregulars

Big is bad? A response to Erik Keller.

Erik Keller is a bright chap, masses of experience, ex-Gartner analyst and so on. He posted the other day about big enterprise software companies not being able to innovate because they are, well, big. Dennis has called me out to comment, and I will rise, trout-like to the lure. Sometimes Dennis ties a good Mrs Simpson. And I will take an enterprisey nibble, be hooked and thrash around for a while. 

To be frank, this isn’t one of Erik’s better posts.   I’m sceptical of sentences that begin “by definition” but then don’t offer any definition.

By definition, innovation comes from small, early-adopter efforts for a given company or industry

My take. (obviously biased as I work in one of those “innovation-free” big enterprise software companies !-) )

1.  Where is the proof?  Please show me the statistics that show innovation is “by definition” a small company thing. 3M, GE, Philips, Intel, Siemens, Nokia, DARPA,IKEA, Sun, BASF, IBM, Stanford and MIT are all biggish organisations that do a great job at innovation.   Irving Wladawsky-Berger from IBM  has been at the forefront of innovation at IBM for ages. His blog is a gem, and his take on IBM’s history is fascinating read.

2. How are you defining and measuring innovation?  I’m confused.

3. I buy the point about crowdsourcing and I’m a big fan of Von Hippel’s customer led innovation.  But start ups without customers can’t really do customer led innovation. (I know, I started one)

4. Big companies do have bureaucracy and sales inertia, fair point, but often they have the space and the cash to hire and nurture innovative people. Not every innovator is an entrepreneur, and big companies, when run well provide a great environment for people to innovate. Small teams are not the sole preserve of small companies.  Smart big companies recognise the serendipity effect of putting lots of clever folks together, and work hard to manage the challenge of disruption. Believer though I am of the cluetrain and customer-led innovation, often really earth-shattering mindblowing stuff is happening in a government funded or large enterprise lab, and we have absolutely no idea what it will lead to. (see a previous rant)

 

5. Erik goes on to comment.

Today’s most innovative large companies, including DuPont and Proctor & Gamble, are not attempting to do everything themselves, but rather reach out to customers and independents.

Procter & Gamble, (to spell it correctly) have clearly innovated through acquisition, they are kings of consolidation. Their ability to acquire brands and nurture them is to be marveled. The Gillette merger makes Oracle PSFT merger seem like very small beer.

In the SAP context, a basic premise of Netweaver is all about enabling ISVs and customers to drive their own innovation, and it is by working closely with the P&G’s and Du Pont’s of this world that we develop the applications that they want. I’d suggest SAP’s SDN is a pretty good  example of “social networking, crowdsourcing and supplier collaboration”

Also, to argue that 

The concept of one-stop shopping for the technology industry is akin to the model espoused by Henry Ford in the early 1900s, which culminated with the creation of the River Rouge plant, where Ford did everything from the smelting of iron ore to final fabrication of automobile

Would be valid if Oracle acquired Intel, Sun,and Accenture, but I don’t see even Larry doing that. 

 6. M&A is the most dominant trend at some software companies, and it is the one that journos and analysts love to write about, but even Oracle’s M&A spend is dwarfed by that in of players  in Pharma, Insurance, FMCG, Retail, Banking….

7. Lumping all big software companies in the same box is as absurd as dissing Toyota because of what Ford do. Not all big companies are the same.  Some big companies innovate, others don’t. Small companies that innovate consistently quickly become big companies.  Big companies that stop innovating  shrink.  Some Austrian chap wrote about this some time ago, but instead of quoting him I’ll rely on IBM’s Irving to provide more sound guidance on how to sustain innovation in times of challenge.

There is no truer test of the ability of a business to innovate than to see it successfully reinvent itself and keep going year after year after year. 

It isn’t really a question of big or small at all.

The longest tail, ever.

I have discussed the origin of the long tail before.

As he is the future opening batsman, first strike bowler and cover point fielder for the German cricket team,  it is a matter of national security that Oliver, my 23 month old son, gets to watch the cricket World Cup.

There is more chance of Inzamam-ul-Haq running a cheeky second than there is of German telly covering the cricket, so I’m looking for a way to hear some audio coverage, via the Internet.  Cricket coverage on the web is now choked full of broadcast rights and IP address checking. Dastardly DRM. Unlike the 2005 Ashes, Test Match Special on the BBC is now only for UK residents.

Please note: International listeners will not be able to hear TMS when broadcasting from outside the UK – rights restrictions prevent us from streaming England’s Test tours to an international audience.

I would pay money to listen to Aggers and Henry Blofeld. 

I understand that there is a bar or two in Mannheim and Heidelberg that will show games, but I can’t nurdle  off to  a bar for six weeks.

One option would be to buy a  dish and get it through ARY, but that doesn’t give me radio coverage via the PC.  Googling takes me to all sorts of dodgy looking watch satellite for free on your PC stuff….So for all you other cricket fans in Germany, what are you doing? Don’t all shout at once.

In the absence of anything live, I bring you my favourite cricketing moment, ever. Jonty Rhodes of Pietermaritzburg v Inzamam-ul-Haq 1992.

and of course, on youtube.

 Here’s to a South African world cup victory, but more importantly, a great tournament.

Update: Nigel kindly forwarded me the link to Willow.tv.

Update 2: foiled by DRM.

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Ruleburst, SOA and Sushi

I started to write this as I sat on the Heathrow Express, the train that runs from Paddington to Heathrow. It is brilliant when it runs, as it means you avoid the Piccadilly line schlep to Heathrow.

This post isn’t about rail travel though.

After the meeting with the customer, where we discussed their global SAP HR rollout and systems consolidation project, I had lunch with Kim Fisher. Like me he has lurked in the SAP HR space for more than a decade. Unlike me he actually knows the deep down technical innards of SAP, and can exchange table 77S0 plogi plogi tales with the best of them.  Most of his time is spent on big, challenging global projects.

He has been playing around with the SAP widget stuff, building examples that push payroll errors to the desktop of payroll managers.  I suggested he post to SDN.   This led us to talking about SOA. (Sad I know, lunch in London at a swanky  Japanese restaurant and we talk about SOA)

We discussed how to explain it to business types without inflicting undue pain and trauma.  His response was don’t explain it –  show it.  So I challenged him to give me an example that I could get HR management types excited about. 

He said, “Well imagine there was a piece of software that could read through  the company car  legislation and build it out as a set of rules,  and then configure the payroll rules in SAP,  and deploy the same set of rules on the government self-help website, and keep them all in sync.

 (In SOAese this would be all about services, soap, XML, composing, consuming, reuse)

 He then went on to tell me about this Australian company- Ruleburst.   French Caldwell from Gartner mentioned them to me, and hearing Kim talk about them with such conviction made me look them up immediately when I got to the airport lounge.  Awesome stuff indeed. Watch this demo.  There is also a live solution used to determine employment status on the HMRC site.

I could see all sorts of uses for this application for testing policies and then passing the configuration rules to multiple applications, and when the policy changes, update the application rules. So image you have 20 union agreements and your company has grown with lots of acquisitions. This means you are faced with several 100 pages of rules and policies, with conflicts and ambiguities. Typically analysing this lot would take ages, even before any attempt to automate it, and whenever you create a  new policy it  would need to be checked against old ones.  With Ruleburst this process could be dramatically improved, both in terms of speed and accuracy. The Ruleburst is delivered as a webservice that you can call from SAP or other applications.  More about the SAP-Ruleburst scenarios here. 

I’d like to get a detailed demo of Ruleburst, and once I have seen more I’ll blog more.  It doesn’t just work with statute, but with your own business rules. 

It may also have implications for my academic efforts, as I’m very interested in the relationship between software and law.  Looks like I will need to learn more about the Business Rules Engine market and the theory behind it.

Tools like this will aid software engineers to design compliant applications, and could help clean the policy morass that most organisations have accumulated.

 I think it would be useful for lawyers and accountants too.

Ruleburst is an SAP X-APP certified partner, certified as “Powered by SAP Netweaver and  to quote the press release, has joined the Public Sector Industry Value Network to develop a composite application that helps public sector customers automate rules processing to manage complex business rules and regulations.   I’d also think that we could tie this in rather nicely with GRC.

Australia has never stuck me as a centre of IT innovation, but with Atlassian, Infohrm,  and now Ruleburst I’ve changed my mind. There is more to Australia than Shane’s flipper.

 

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Thinking about Walls, The Cluetrain and Organisations

Many organisations, whether by design, or simply through the passage of time are siloed. Departments, instead of functioning as part of a well oiled system, become cliques. Organisational silt builds up, blocking the flow of ideas, information and innovation. 

IT mistrusts Finance,  Finance thinks HR stands for “Human Remains” and HR thinks that IT spends all its money on stuff for Finance.

Humans are good at making cliques and building walls and borders for the strangest reasons. The walls rarely help though.

Looking back over the last year my blog is sprinkled with Cluetrain ramblings. I stumbled upon it soon after starting  blogging, and it has slowly grown on me, better late than never.  I really ought to buy a copy.

I suppose this blog has become my attempt to generate a little more conversation with customers and those that watch SAP. I’ve thought a lot about the Cluetrain and how it impacts selling, and surfing around, most blogs that reference the Cluetrain do so from customer perspective. Yet I seem to have neglected an important and blindingly obvious component.

It stands to reason that if you preach the Cluetrain externally, in the customer context,  then it should  have an employee counterpart? The more I think about the Cluetrain, the more I reckon it needs to start within an organisation.  If you can build a culture of trust and collaboration with an organisation, then ideas and processes flow smoothly, making it possible to deliver on your promises. But surely the Cluetrain needs to work within the organisation too? If the internal functioning of an organisation are wracked with divisions and walls, then building a consistent conversation with the customer becomes impossible.

How does or should the Cluetrain impact how you hire, train, develop, communicate with and motivate  people in your organisation?  Re-reading it on the plane to London this morning, I was struck by this paragraph.

Consider this: from the other side of the gulf opened by the Web, virtually all of the structures that management identifies as being the business itself seem to be bizarre artifacts of earlier times, like wearing a powdered wig and codpiece to the company picnic.

I suggest that anyone interested in how organisations work should read the Cluetrain, and focus on Chapter 5, the Hyperlinked Organization. David Weinburger wrote it.

 I wonder how many HR leaders have read the Cluetrain, or even given serious thought to how the web impacts your organisation? This sentence really hit home.

Somewhere along the line, we confused going to work with building a fort

Does your organisational culture build walls or break them down? Does information flow easily across functional domains, or is it hoarded?  Does everyone know and believe in the strategy? Does everyone take ownership for success?

Are you someone that breaks down silos?

Or do you help build them?

And when people work together even the most seemingly impregnable of silos can be made to crumble.

So next time IT, HR and Finance climb into their forts, or you see silos growing, suggest a trip to Berlin, stand on this line and ask them if the organisation would work better without the walls.

After all,

Berlin Mauer 1961-1989

Hyperlinked organizations never met a wall they liked.

UPDATE:  For more on Berlin in English, checkout the Berlin life site.

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Hype-rion?

Rather than simply diss Oracle for buying Hyperion, and face the accusation of being a SAP PR stooge –  I figured I’d read what others Jeff , Jason, James, Dennis, Larry, Larry again, Louella,  Dana, John ,Mark, Tony, Tom  Andy, SystematicHR, and even Wikipedia expert Nicholas have to had say, and then ponder a bit. I’ve pondered, now I’ll ramble.

Most  commentators see this as smart move for Oracle. Essbase gets lots of praise, as does the “CFO Access”, and Hyperion ease of use. The financial types say that Oracle didn’t overpay . It certainly gives Oracle a much stronger corporate performance management story, a solid boost up the Gartner quadrants and some not insignificant bragging rights. It also puts more salesfolks and consultants on the ground. It definitely strengthens Oracle’s CFO story. It takes everyone’s eye off fusion. It further muddies Oracle’s earnings picture. Smart move.

I’m still going to diss it, well just a bit. This deal is a net positive for Oracle, but I don’t think it is quite as rosy and game changing as many of the commentators reckon it is.

1. Hyperion is not a high growth play. Its software revenue grew at roughly  9%  last year  when the BI market is supposedly going great guns. With an existing  salesforce of 1900 it isn’t a question of taking a neat product and giving it a channel and a salesforce to scale. I’m not sure that adding Hyperion to the Oracle kit bag will create a spike in Hyperion sales. Contrast this with the SAP Pilot buy.(James has a good write up on this.)

2. Hyperion is not a single application that will simply and quickly “bolt on or drop into” to the Oracle offering/s. Over the last couple of years Hyperion itself has done a mini-Oracle and acquired Brio, Razza and other companies. Oracle will need to figure out what to do with these bits and pieces too. Hyperion was/is a very successful consolidation tool vendor that tried to branch out into the broader BI space, with less success.  Jeff from infoworld picks up on this. This means that Oracle probably only really want at most 60-70% of what they have bought. This makes the deal more expensive than it seems, and creates uncertainties for the customers of those less loved products in the Hyperion offering. Andy notes.

What is less clear is what happens to Brio. Brio never quite made it up into the same league as Business Objects and Cognos, and given that Oracle already has various reporting software of varying quality it is unclear whether Oracle will really exploit Brio or just let it quietly shuffle off to that crowded house in the sky for acquired BI software. Certainly Brio customers need to carefully think about their options.

Mark Rittman, an independent Oracle BI consultant comments on the politics and technical challenges this take over brings. It isn’t as simple as it seems, and there is alot more overlap than Charles Phillips makes out. I’ll be adding Mark’s blog to my feed.

Integrating Essbase, and its salespeople and technologists, into Oracle will be a very bitter pill to swallow for many Express and IRI veterans, a bit like George Graham becoming manager of Tottenham Hotspur to use an analogy close to my heart. Whilst the architecture of Oracle OLAP is, in my opinion, superior to Essbase (and there are as many advocates on the Essbase side who would beg to differ), what’s happened to the product over the past five years has been nothing short of a tragedy, and one that is largely made up of Oracle shooting itself in the foot, repeatedly.

Similarly Systematic HR comments

If Fusion applications (yes – please make the distinction between product and infrastructure) is supposed to be out in a few years, why would they add a component this late in the game? Now they will need to determine the new product strategy and integrate all the components into a nice package that plays well together. Yes, I understand that SOA is a nice theory, but let’s face it, retooling Hyperion to make its code fully interoperable with other Oracle components is not a small task. Already Oracle has the eBusiness Suite, PeopleSoft, and Siebel to grapple with. Isn’t that enough?

3. But what really surprises me is this talk of “access to the CFO” many commentators picked up on. Does the Hyperion salesforce have a magic CFO access finder?  I wasn’t aware that CFO’s were a hidden tribe.

If an SAP account executive isn’t able to develop CFO “access” when needed, and have something relevant to say, he-she doesn’t normally last very long here at starship enterprisey.  It isn’t about access, it is about conversation. And to converse you need something worthwhile to say.  Hyperion has a great story that CFOs like, but then buying a bunch of Hyperion sales folks will not suddenly mean that CFOs will want to hear about the other 21 code bases in Oracle’s kit bag.  

Many of SAP’s customer are already Oracle customers, via Database and if Charles is to believed, Fusion Middleware, (whatever that may be), so far this hasn’t  generated any significant inroads into SAP revenue streams. InAccording to the SAP analysis, we are taking market share.  I’m not sure that the Hyperion sales person will succeed where Oracle’s have failed.

4. Captain Contrarian, Josh Greenbaum nailed an interesting point. M&A is something that Wallstreet thrives on and understands. Buying listed companies is easy news  and the analyst and journo community lap it up. Organic growth seems kind of boring  in comparision. Josh comments. 

Unfortunately, when it comes to the news that matters in our industry, the Anne Nicole Effect is in full force. Neither the New York Times (nor its competitors) has managed to write an in-depth look at the issues behind the strategies of Oracle, SAP, and the rest of the enterprise software market. What gets played is stuff like M&A — big and brash and titillating — while the the issues that matter, I believe, more to customers — product strategy, technology strategy, innovation, total cost of ownership — are hardly ever addressed. 

I blame a fair amount of this on the Wall Street analysts and their priorities, which are too much about quarterly earnings and market cap and not enough about long term value to customers. Wall Street understands M&A very well, and is able to analyze it and pontificate on it and report on it and generally make a big splash about it. But complex product strategies and long-term vision is a little too complex and long-term for them.

Charles Phillips is doing a brilliant job in talking to the Street and the City. For him talking about M&A is a lot easier than getting into the technical details of Fusion, but he is a master at talking numbers. He understands the banker and analyst world but Vinnie may have a point, Oracle is a private equity fund. 

5. This purchase will encourage SAP to invest more into financial performance management. The Pilot purchase a couple of weeks ago seems rather prescient and links well with the growing success of BI. But the Oracle move places a premium on delivering stronger user-centric applications, as Hyperion is known for its accountant-friendly (oxymoron?)  UI.

6.The SAP salesforce will be more focused, as “losing” or perhaps not even competing for a performance management deal to a standalone vendor that is a part of the Netweaver ecosystem is very different to losing one to Oracle.  Over the last few years we have had a focus on the platform; what I’d classify as the CIO centric-sell. This accquistion may herald a return into fashion of stronger CFO centric presales. Personally I think this is long overdue, but then as an ex-application presaler I’m reflexively biased. Folks that understand the challenges of the CFO and speak the language of finance will be in demand.

I’d guess that IBM and Microsoft will also be less inclined to open the door for Hyperion when it is part of Oracle than when it was a standalone vendor.

Tony from Freeform Dynamics explains this challenge well

The major test for many current customers of Hyperion will lie in how well Oracle maintains Hyperion’s ability to operate across a broad portfolio of offerings. Hyperion has gained much benefit from its ability to extract valuable business performance information in many environments and Oracle will face a major challenge to keep these relationships functioning, especially as it is also a direct competitor with many of these vendors

7.As with the PeopleSoft  and Siebel takeovers, this creates opportunities for SAP to pick up great talent who don’t want to work for Oracle, both in development and the field.

8. Oracle is paying 7.8x Hyperion’s maintenance stream. This is higher  than prior acquisitions of PSFT at 7.2x and Siebel at 7.3x. I’m also not convinced that reporting tools have the same level of stickiness that core transactional systems do. It is a lot easier to replace a consolidation and reporting tool that it is an ERP.

9.Oracle is talking up an anti-SAP pitch on this one, but rather than just attacking and surrounding SAP, this may be more of defensive play. Buttressing the database business against IBM and Microsoft may be the real reason for this spending. An  IBM-Cognos wedding would make things really interesting. Microsoft’s BI ambitions are well known.

(my views, not SAP’s)

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Incidently, Hyperion was a relatively minor figure in Greek Mythology  He started well, being the father of light but then things went rather down hill and he was banished to a really dark pit with his brothers. He was made a little more famous by John Keats, a poet who wrote stuff about urns. The poems Hyperion and the Fall of Hyperion go on almost as long as the Oracle-Peoplesoft take over did, but herewith an excerpt.

In sad demeanour, solemn, undisturb’d,

Unruffled, like high Gods, ye liv’d and ruled:

Now I behold in you fear, hope, and wrath;

Working for Oracle.

Okay the last line wasn’t Keats.

 

 

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