In this two-part guest column, veteran SAP expert Jon Reed sounds off on the recently announced Business Objects acquisition.
Coming back from TechEd Las Vegas, we were all taken by surprise when the big TechEd announcements were trumped by the news of SAP’s Business Objects (BO) acquisition. This purchase was a major development for many reasons, not the least of which was because it marked a significant shift in SAP’s “build, don’t buy” development strategy. The biggest question off the bat was a simple one: Is this a good or bad move for SAP?
Matt Danielsson’s Editorial Blog ran a series of entries which provided a very useful assessment of the pros and cons of the BO acquisition. Featured among the entries was Naeem Hashmi of Information Frameworks, who provided a well-balanced look at the impact of the BO purchase.
After Matt posted his initial features, a follow-up question appeared: How will the BO acquisition affect SAP: How will the BO acquisition affect SAP consulting in the BI/BW area? To get a handle on this issue, I asked Naeem Hashmi to share his thoughts on the impact of BO on the careers of SAP professionals. I then placed his comments in an overall context of how I look at the issue myself. Here is what I had to say:
Almost as soon as SAP’s acquisition of Business Objects (BO) was announced, the emails started pouring in. All kinds of SAP consultants, including those who were seriously involved in BW/BI or those who were looking to get involved, were concerned: How would this acquisition affect their career path? To be honest, I never truly understood these concerns.
Let me clarify: I do grasp that the BO acquisition poses some potentially dramatic changes in the SAP BI consulting space. Certainly the “skills profile” of the BI consultant of the future will change as a result of SAP’s BO purchase. But I saw the BO acquisition, which was a major departure from SAP’s “build our own code base” strategy, as a signal of the strategic importance of BI to the product line. And that can only be good news to the SAP BI consultant in the long term.
This certainly jibes with the sense I got from TechEd 2007. On the lookout for hot skills, what I saw was that the “eSOA skill set” would eventually be very much in demand, but right now, BW/BI skills were considered the most sought after of any skill, certainly any technical skill.
So it’s hard for me to see a serious problem for BI folks here – if anything, the BO purchase indicates the huge value SAP sees in BI going forward. And that means that SAP’s own customers are committed to implementing this technology. SAP would not have gone after BO if they had any doubt about that.
In order to get a better handle on how BO will truly impact SAP BI consultants on the skills level, I asked Naeem Hashmi, Chief Research Officer of Information Frameworks, if he would like to share his take on how the BO purchase will impact SAP professionals.
Read his thoughts on the matter in part two of this column.