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BI, OEM and ISVs: An interview with OEM Market Director Dana Schmidt
Delaney Turner 270002T14M firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  isv oem business_intelligence cognos
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Dana Schmidt is OEM Market Director for IBM Cognos software. Recently I had the chance to talk with him about the trends in OEM implementations, new opportunities with predictive analytics software and why OEM partners choose IBM over open-source vendors. You can follow him on Twitter and read his blog here.
You and your team work with hundreds of software companies that embed Business Analytics software in their offerings. What trends are you noticing in their implementations?
Another interesting trend is the use of business intelligence and analytics "in process" in a business application. Historically, BI capabilities have been bolted-on to business applications, not part of the application workflow. This led to process inefficiencies and broke down in situations where intuition-based decisions became the norm. Now, software companies such as Sterling Commerce are embedding analytics in-line to provide the users metrics at their fingertips. Sterling and other partners are advancing even further by integrating analytics with their underlying application services to monitor key metrics and initiate or manage business processes to deliver truly fact-based business decisions.
Finally, the wider adoption of predictive analytics is encouraging - historically, predictive analytics have been the domain of "quants" and academics. Now, we're seeing them being more broadly deployed. Several software providers such as MedeAnalytics use predictive algorithms to address tactical and strategic business decisions. MedeAnalytics has embedded predictive analytics in their heal
Other than technology, what benefits do you see the IBM Business Analytics OEM program providing?
We see technology as only a single part of our program and value proposition. An important part? Yes, critically so. As an OEM of technology, you need a platform that is open, embeddable, extendable, and scalable. Check, check, check, check. But what we have found over the years, is that it's mutually beneficial if we invest in bringing our partners to market. So, we invest, and have done so heavily. First, in providing resources beyond the traditional technical support line to assist our software provider partners.
We have a dedicated team with product management and development experience in addition to years of analytics experience that comes on-site and works side by side with our partners to design and deliver the solution. This is not a paid service, but an investment we fund to accelerate and improve the product being brought to market. Second, we have a marketing and account team focused on field enablement and co-marketing initiatives with our partners. And finally, we as IBM work to promote our partners' solutions, both internally at IBM and externally to the market through a number of vehicles, including our IBM Industry Frameworks.
So being IBM, you focus only on the BIG software providers, correct?
Actually, we partner with all types of software providers, from the two-person startup to multi-billion independent software vendors (ISVs) and SaaS providers. We have actually segmented our program to provide the right model and approach for a software provider based on their requirements and their market opportunity. We have programs that address partners needing only core reporting capabilities, to those partners that have a very strategic view on analytics and require close alignment through out various business units at IBM.
This year we're excited to introduce our Enable program, which focuses on the needs of smaller ISVs. It eliminates the upfront license cost normally associated with OEM relationships and provides access to technology, support, training and distribution models to make smaller ISVs successful. In just the first couple of months, this program is already driving a high level of activity.
Open Source Reporting has gained some press lately. Why wouldn't software providers choose open source technology?
Good question. We've certainly seen open source vendors in various implementations. Many times we've been brought in to replace them.
Based on experience, software providers choose IBM to partner with based on a few factors. First, they are looking to mitigate risk. Once development organizations realize that we provide the APIs and openness they are looking for AND that we come in with a focused team dedicated to helping them and their product management counterparts, they truly understand the difference in value.
Second, IBM Cognos software provides the full breadth of business analytics capability built on a single platform from the ground up. So many ISVs understand that as they provide effective BI to their end customers, the demand will continue to grow for newer and broader capabilities. And our platform's ability and comparative simplicity to turn on additional capabilities is highly-valued.
The final factor, believe it or not, is cost. Earlier this year I spoke to a potential partner who had done a full evaluation of our technology vs. open source technology and that of a niche vendor. Do you know what they found out? At the end of the day, we provided them the lowest cost to deliver their solution. Their analysis was exhaustive and included not only licensing cost, but integration, development, deployment and administration costs. I have always known through talking to our partners that we always win on the value side, but I must say, I was initially surprised that SIMPLY on the cost side of the equation against open source vendors we won. But as we listened to the details from our new partner, the value of our integrated platform was clear.