SAP-Business Objects deal stirs user anxiety

SAP-Business Objects deal stirs user anxiety

BO users fearing decline in support and development.

SAP's agreement last week to buy Business Objects for US$6.8 billion left some of the latter company's users fearing a decline in support and a decrease in emphasis on product development.

Analysts noted that officials at SAP must address overlap between the two vendors' product lines.

Jonathan Rothman, director of data management at Emergency Medical Associates and a user of various Business Objects business intelligence tools, said he hopes that the deal won't force the vendor to change its development plans.

"My hope is Business Objects will not spend years and years only trying to better integrate its product suite with SAP's, but will use this acquisition to gain access to more capital to enhance what it already has," he said. He also called on SAP not to "add layers and layers of corporate decision-makers and make Business Objects slower to adapt to user needs.

"Otherwise, as a core Business Objects user, I would see no advantage to this acquisition," he said.

Erik Brokaw, enterprise architect at Blue Cross and Blue Shield, said he is more optimistic about the combination but still called on SAP "to provide the same level of support for the business intelligence solutions as Business Objects does today."

Blue Cross uses multiple BI tools from Business Objects, he said.

Bernard Liautaud, chairman and founder of Paris-based Business Objects, said the company will remain an "independent business" after the deal closes. He noted that while the BI vendor wasn't looking to be acquired when it was approached by SAP in July, "we were, of course, willing to listen."

John Hagerty, an analyst at AMR Research, said the acquisition comes in the midst of efforts by both companies to extend performance management product lines.

"It's going to require some backtracking on both fronts to make it look more complementary," he said.

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