In the world of enterprise business software, there are four titans that stand above the rest. I like to call them the “Big Four of BI” — SAP, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle. Most people see these powerful vendors as only competitors, which of course they are. But they’re far from enemies. In fact, did you know they are actually partners? The partnerships between these software giants are strategic alliances and bring increased ROI to users when their products integrate easily.
It’s like a team of superhero business software makers, bound together to form a Justice League of data management. Well, maybe the partnerships aren’t quite that strong, but they are solid nonetheless.
If the legendary former front man of The Smiths were to evaluate these alliances he would likely croon — “Top BI vendors of the world, unite and take over.”
Companies as big as SAP, Microsoft, Oracle and IBM are more than just BI vendors though, they’re the backbone of enterprise-class software across the globe. It’s impossible to classify them with a single category since their product offerings and professional services are so extensive. The majority of corporations on the Fortune 1000 and Global 500 lists utilize a mix of solutions from all four vendors. In fact, it’s very rare for a company to be 100 percent dedicated to the products of a single vendor. After all, who doesn’t use Excel?
For a product to be a part of a company’s approved production software stack, it must be able to connect and integrate seamlessly with other software already in place. Leveraging the strengths of a variety of tools that match with a client’s unique requirements takes skill and experience. Creating the right blend of tools from multiple vendors can be a very rewarding balancing act for technology managers and directors. Business data is never simple. Voting “straight ticket” by investing in a single BI vendor can almost always be improved with a partner’s tools to extend the capabilities.
Did you know that SAP BusinessObjects universes can now connect to more than 300 different data sources? Now that’s what I call database agnostic.
Multiple Vendors — One Solution
Here’s a classic example of multiple vendor tools integrated within a single and basic BI reporting solution.
- A series of SAP BusinessObjects universes connect to multiple Oracle, IBM Netezza, SAP HANA and Microsoft SQL Server databases — in a single SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 deployment.
- A collection of reports are created with SAP’s Web Intelligence in BI 4.1 that query data from all of the data sources listed above and then published to a centralized platform — SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1.
- Several of the reports are scheduled and delivered to users as Microsoft Excel files.
Partnerships Run Deep
These “Big Four of BI” vendors have impressive collections of influential partners in every category, from reseller and implementation consultancies to specialized software solutions that coexist perfectly with their tools.
In the partner category of “Build, Extend & Develop Solutions,” SAP alone has more than 1,700 partners. If that’s not impressive enough, they have nearly 5,000 reseller partners and more than 6,000 partners in the “Implement, Service & Support Solutions” category.
If you’ve ever been to a SAPPHIRE® NOW or SAP Analytics & BusinessObjects (SABOUC) | ASUG (America’s SAP User Group) conference, you’ll get an idea of the significance of partnerships by walking the showroom floor. The unique solutions never seem to end. The conference swag isn’t too bad either.
Big Four of BI — Partnership Details
Below are a few of the key partnerships around some of the recent solution integrations.
- SAP and IBM — Partnership of 40 Years
- IBM Cloud solutions with SAP HANA
- IBM Systems and SAP HANA
- IBM Business Analytics for SAP
- IBM Netezza connectivity with SAP BusinessObjects
- IBM Netezza connectivity with SAP HANA
- Mobile solutions for SAP clients
- IBM Systems for SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse Accelerator
- IBM System Storage solutions for SAP
- IBM Insight for SAP
- IBM DB2 for SAP software
- SAP HANA on IBM hardware
- IBM Mobility solutions for SAP apps
- InfoSphere Optim Data Privacy for SAP
- SAP and Oracle — Partnership of 27 Years
- Oracle Platforms for SAP Applications
- Oracle In-Memory database for SAP NetWeaver
- Oracle database for SAP applications
- Database and IT Infrastructure stability solutions for SAP
- Oracle Exadata and SAP
- SAP Core Data Services for Oracle Database
- SAP and Microsoft — Partnership of 20 Years
- Interoperability — SAP data and Microsoft apps
- Cloud — SAP & Microsoft Azure
- Mobility Solutions — SAP Afaria and Windows 8
- Platform and Infrastructure — SAP Gateway for Microsoft
- Data — Microsoft SQL Server and critical SAP Installations
- Datazen connected to SAP HANA
- Power BI connected to SAP BusinessObjects universes
- SAP HANA platform on Microsoft Azure
- SAP software installations on Microsoft hardware
- Revolution Analytics R – improved ODBC connectivity with SAP Sybase IQ