BI, Analytics, and CEP: Some Fruitful Potential Follow-Ons from Software AG’s Acquisition of IDS Scheer
Yes, of course, Software AG is buying IDS Scheer primarily for the latter’s ARIS family of business process management (BPM) tools. I’ll leave it to my Forrester colleagues who focus on BPM–on both the IT and TI sides of the house — to call out the ramifications for Software AG’s positioning in that market.
But, believe it or not, this deal will also launch Software AG into the growing markets for business intelligence (BI), analytics, and complex event processing (CEP) solutions. We bet you didn’t realize that IDS Scheer has ARIS solutions in these fast growing markets, but in fact they do — and they’re continue to evolve those offerings.
It’s no surprise that IDS Scheer’s BI, analytics, and CEP offerings supplement and extend its BPM portfolio. Its CEP solution, ARIS Process Event Monitor, supports business activity monitoring (BAM). Its analytics offerings, ARIS Process Performance Management and ARIS Performance Dashboard, support visualization, dashboarding, scorecarding, drilldown, and alerting on process key performance indicators (KPIs), both historical and real-time. And its forthcoming BI offering, ARIS MashZone, will support self-service user development of reports, dashboards, and other views of process and business metrics.
IDS Scheer has little market share in these non-core segments. And the vendor is no immediate threat, by itself or under its future corporate parent, to the leaders in the BI, analytics, and CEP segments. Indeed, its forthcoming mashup-oriented BI offering only provides a subset of the features available from market leaders such as SAP Business Objects, IBM Cognos, and MicroStrategy. But the fact that Software AG will soon be able to provide its own offerings in those segments, rather than rely wholly on partners, represents an important step in its attempt to field a full service oriented architecture (SOA) solution stack.
As noted in a blog entry a year and a half ago, BI is the crown jewel in any comprehensive SOA solution portfolio. SOA suites cannot be considered feature-complete unless they incorporate a comprehensive range of BI features. This acquisition continues the ongoing SOA solution build-out strategy that motivated Software AG to acquire webMethods in 2007.
But it’s not clear yet whether Software AG plans to flesh out its BI, analytics, and CEP strategies going forward and thereby confront SAP, Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, and other SOA full-stack vendors head-on in these segments. It is also unclear how much effort or expense Software AG would incur in extricating the IDS Scheer offerings from the larger ARIS portfolio in order to make them more general-purpose and less BPM-centric. Nevertheless, Software AG will at the very least have a strong set of enabling technologies to support any such strategy in the near future.
What’s most exciting, and potentially differentiating, about the Software AG/IDS Scheer BI portfolio is the combination of CEP with mashup and an in-memory architecture to support truly real-time, interactive analytics. In other words, Software AG/IDS Scheer could take a page out of the book of another SOA full-stack vendor: TIBCO and its Spotfire product group. In doing so, Software AG/IDS Scheer would also be well-positioned to duke it out with SAP, IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle, all of which are beginning to emphasize in-memory CEP-enabled BI strategies. As we noted in a report from late 2008, in-memory architectures are coming to dominate the BI arena. Likewise, Forrester has called attention in recent reports to the growing adoption of CEP for truly real-time BI.
Whether Software AG capitalizes on the opportunity to expand its SOA solution stack into BI remains to be seen. Considering that it took Oracle more than a year to publicly declare how it will position BEA’s CEP and data federation technologies within its own SOA stack, we may have to wait a while before Software AG and IDS Scheer craft an equivalent roadmap–if they ever do.
But if they wait too long, the newly merging vendors may find that the dynamic SOA, BI, and CEP markets have passed them by.