MicroStrategy takes aim at competition

The business intelligence software vendor launches initiatives to lure customers and employees of competitors in the midst of being acquired.

MicroStrategy has launched an aggressive campaign that targets both customers and employees of its competitors.
"We see the chaos and confusion inherent in these mergers as creating a vacuum in the market, and we intend to fill it."
-- Mark LaRow,
vice president of products, MicroStrategy


The business intelligence (BI) vendor last week announced a license replacement program for customers and OEM (original equipment manufacturer) partners of its competitors, Cognos and Business Objects.

The program will allow existing customers of the two BI vendors to trade in their licenses for MicroStrategy licenses "at little or no replacement cost", the company said.

Mark LaRow, vice president of products at MicroStrategy, said in an e-mail interview: "We see the chaos and confusion inherent in these mergers as creating a vacuum in the market, and we intend to fill it."

According to Wayne Eckerson, director at TDWI Research, recent acquisitions in the BI space involving companies such as Hyperion, Business Objects and Cognos, provides an opportune time for other players to step up in the market.

In a press statement released by MicroStrategy, Eckerson said: "The big three former independent BI players have fallen like dominos this year, aligning themselves with application/database vendors and trading market heft for independence.

"This obviously presents a great opportunity for remaining independent players to capture the sizable segment of customers who prefer best-of-breed tools, versus an all-in-one stack pushed by aggressive account teams selling everything from servers and databases to applications and services," he said.

MicroStrategy COO Sanju Bansal, said in the statement that the license replacement program is targeted at customers who have anxieties over migration and transition issues that may crop up due to the acquisitions of their current BI vendors.

"Historically, companies have switched from Business Objects or Cognos to MicroStrategy when they ran into scalability roadblocks," Bansal said. "This replacement program is intended to ease the adoption of MicroStrategy by lowering or eliminating the acquisition cost of MicroStrategy licenses."

The software vendor has also launched a recruitment exercise targeting disgruntled employees of Cognos and Business Objects.

LaRow told ZDNet Asia: "Once the acquisitions are finalized, Cognos and Business Objects will face new challenges as part of the much larger 'parent' enterprises.

"Product development may slow or change direction; support for specific products may no longer be a priority; and the migration process may be painful for customers," he said. "Employees of these companies may be concerned about job security and may not fit into the structure of a larger, multi-product organization."

According to LaRow, both license replacement and recruitment programs have received inquiries "from all over the world, including Asia," and the number is "expected to increase as the acquisitions draw closer, and again after the acquisitions are complete".

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