SAS Institute Inc said it wasn’t about to change its spots and become a major acquirer in the business intelligence market in the wake of the recent acquisition of rival Hyperion Solutions Corp by Oracle Corp.
Russ Cobb, vice president of marketing of Cary, North Carolina-based SAS, told Computer Business Review in an interview that we are an organic growth company first and foremost and we intend to stay that way.
With revenues expected to top $2bn this year privately-held SAS is certainly big enough to make an acquisition, though probably the market caps of Business Objects SA and Cognos Inc, thought to be next in line, are perhaps beyond its pocket.
Cobb pointed out that SAS does not have a history of acquisition. Since its formation some 30 years ago SAS has acquired less than 10 companies.
We’ve built 95% of our analytic BI products ourselves and we only buy in specialist or industry expertise or niche functionality to fill in parts missing in the SAS platform, Cobb said.
SAS’ last acquisition was Veridiem, a marketing resource management company, last year. The company previous acquisitions also include Marketmax (retail planning and merchandise), ABC Technologies (activity based management), Intrinsic (marketing automation), and DataFflux (data quality).
We’re very focused when we do an acquisition and it’s always small, which means it’s easy to integrate into our platform.
Cobb interpreted Oracle’s $3.3bn swoop for Hyperion was mostly a chapter in its ongoing saga with SAP.
It’s really part of a customer acquisition strategy against SAP.
Cobb said the move, if anything, benefited SAS by removing another independent competitor from the market.
There have been around four or five serious players in BI and broader business performance management software market for years now, and their avenues for growth are becoming more narrowed. So I’m not surprised that one of the BI vendors is now looking for bigger partner.
Cobb now expects some sales cycles loosen up where Hyperion is involved as the incumbent.
Hyperion customers will be wondering which products will now be sunset. Products like Hyperion Financial Management won’t but the future of some BI offerings, like Essbase, will now be in question.
We’ll capitalize on the uncertainty of that customer base.
Cobb said the consolidation in the BI market highlights the importance of being an independent vendor that’s not tied to a particular database or middleware platform.
It’s hugely important for us. We’ve always been agnostic in terms of what databases we extract data from. Knowing Oracle they will be pushing their own technologies to the Hyperion base.