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MicroStrategy targets rivals amid BI market 'chaos'

After the takeover of Hyperion, Business Objects and Cognos this year, the business-intelligence vendor hopes to snatch their customers and employees

MicroStrategy has launched an aggressive campaign targeting both the customers and employees of its competitors.

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

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

According to Wayne Eckerson, director at research firm TDWI, recent acquisitions in the BI space involving companies such as Hyperion, Business Objects and Cognos provide 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," Eckerson said.

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

MicroStrategy chief operating officer Sanju Bansal said in the statement that the licence-replacement programme 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 programme is intended to ease the adoption of MicroStrategy by lowering or eliminating the acquisition cost of MicroStrategy licences."

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 finalised, 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," LaRow said. "Employees of these companies may be concerned about job security and may not fit into the structure of a larger, multi-product organisation."

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