Changing Business Intelligence Landscape



While much of the information technology (IT) industry and many CIOs, concerned about their traditional legacy business intelligence (BI) applications, were focused on the market implications of Oracle’s acquisition of Hyperion Software, new entries into the market may represent a more important milestone in the evolution of this segment of the software industry.

On March 6, 2007, LucidERA unveiled its new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business intelligence solution. The company is founded by one of the truly good guys of the industry, Ken Rudin, who also has a unique perspective on the opportunities and challenges represented by the SaaS model.

Ken started his career at Oracle. He then co-founded and was CEO of Emergent Corporation, a consulting firm focused on data warehousing projects for Fortune 500 companies which was sold to Keane, Inc. in 1999. At that point, Ken joined a new company, called Salesforce.com, where he became SVP of Products. He then moved to Seibel Systems where he became the VP and General Manager of the company’s CRM OnDemand solution. When Seibel was acquired by Oracle, Ken moved on to become a founding advisory board member of NetSuite.

These experiences have driven him to launch LucidERA to challenge the established BI players with a pure SaaS alternative. Ken and I first met a year ago at a Pacific Crest investors conference, and have been on various industry panels together since. Drawing on his vast industry experience, Ken is one of the most compelling industry speakers regarding the fundamental challenges facing incumbent software vendors (ISVs) as they attempt to transition to a SaaS model.

Based on his industry experience, Ken recognizes that long-term success in the software industry, as well as within the SaaS movement, depends on building a solid platform rather than creating hot products. In response, LucidERA is positioning itself as an on-demand BI platform provider, rather than just an on-demand BI application vendor. In this role, it will supply a set of BI applications and integration tools, called ‘data connectors’, to permit other developers to link their solutions into the LucidERA’s platform.

LucidERA isn’t the only new player entering the BI market with a SaaS strategy in mind. Oco has been building hosted BI solutions for customers for a number of years. The company recently announced that it had obtained $10 million in a Series C financing from Highfields Capital Management LP, as part of a total Series C issuance of $14.5 million. The company intends to use this new round of funding to shift its business from a project-oriented, hosted BI solution model to a true, multi-tenant SaaS model.

In addition to announcing its latest round of funding, Oco also introduced its new President/CEO, William (Bill) Copacino, formerly Accenture’s Group Chief Executive for Global Business Consulting, responsible for its BI and supply-chain management consulting practices. While Copacino certainly comes to Oco with plenty of expertise in the BI world and probably has a solid Rolodex to get CXO-level meetings, he lacks experience in the software business, especially in the rapidly evolving SaaS world.

Not to be overlooked in the rapidly changing BI market are recent acquisitions by Business Objects and Cognos to strengthen their positions in the SaaS market.

Don’t be surprised if you see Salesforce.com and many of its AppExchange partners, who collect and analyze data from multiple sources, attempt to shave off a portion of the BI market for themselves.







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