BI and Analytics Vendor Acquisitions: The Good, the Bad, and the Future

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Salesforce has acquired Tableau. Google has acquired Looker. Logi has acquired Zoomdata. Sisense is merging with Periscope Data. Alteryx has acquired ClearStory.

The BI and analytics space has seen a steady stream of acquisition and merger announcements latel — and most bets say that it’s probably far from over. Consolidation is indicative of a highly mature market, and from being a part of it for some time—and now CMO of an almost three-decades-strong MicroStrategy—I can tell you that this one certainly qualifies.

The Good
The huge positive in these recent and probably continuing acquisition announcements is that data and analytics is now getting its due. Gartner predicts that by 2022, 90% of corporate strategies will explicitly mention information as a critical enterprise asset and analytics as an essential competency. And by 2023, data literacy will be included in more than 80% of data and analytics strategies and change management programs.

Digital disruption isn’t just a buzzword anymore. Today it’s a stark and accelerating reality for brands that think gut decisions and doing what they’ve always done is good enough.

The Bad
If your organization is using one of the BI and analytics vendors that have been acquired or a smaller or newer solution that has the potential to be caught up in consolidation, your concerns might include:
• What happens with the company and the product? In many acquisitions, it’s business as usual for the first six to 12 months and then change happens in the next two to three years as the companies begin rationalizing software, platforms, and delivery systems
• Will the product quality and focus on the company remain? With some companies, product focus and cultural passions fade as the BI vendor becomes a small piece of the entire business
• Is innovation going to slow or stagnate? While the acquired organization focuses on trying to integrate, other industry players may leap ahead as they spend their time on customer requests and new products, services, and offerings in their roadmap

If history tells us anything, it’s that acquisitions are usually good news for shareholders, but they raise concerns for customers and partners. For MicroStrategy, this is exactly the market setup from 2007 that led to 20+ percent growth for us, as customers looked for stability from a leading analytics vendor.

The Future
Uncertainty—whether related to the product roadmap, divestments, or other changes and challenges — can derail promised synergies. Anticipating turbulent times in the BI industry, Forrester has recommended integrating multiple BI platforms via what they call a “BI fabric” (in other words, leveraging federated analytics to build and deploy trusted applications on top of disparate enterprise assets—watch for an upcoming webcast from Forrester on this coming soon from MicroStrategy).

MicroStrategy’s enterprise semantic graph aligns to this. With MicroStrategy, customers using other BI tools such as Tableau, Power BI, or Qlik can have access to a single version of truth by harnessing MicroStrategy's extensibility, security framework, and metadata strength. While other companies seek to limit customer choices, it’s now our goal as one of the longest-lasting and trusted leaders in analytics to support our customers’ choice of front-end analytics tools, server platforms, cloud providers, database technologies, and enterprise applications.

Now back to the future. It’s incredibly exciting to see data and analytics now getting the attention and investment it deserves. And while in the BI and analytics space (or any space for that matter), change can be bad, it can also be really, really good—including paradigm shifts like HyperIntelligence.

BI and analytics vendors will come, and BI and analytics vendors will go. What we’ve seen is that it creates new leaders and innovation—and at MicroStrategy, we welcome this change.