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Merger and acquisition activity is altering the BI landscape

From Qlik's acquisition of Podium Data in July 2018 through Salesforce's purchase of Tableau Software in June 2019, the last year in BI has been characterized by a wave of consolidation.

Merger and acquisition activity is altering the BI landscape

Capped by Salesforce's $15.7 billion acquisition of Tableau Software on June 10, 2019, and Google's $2.6 billion purchase of Looker just four days earlier, the BI market over the last year has been marked by a wave of merger and acquisition activity.

Qlik kicked off the surge with its acquisition of Podium Data in July 2018, and, subsequently, made two more purchases.

"To survive, you're going to have to reach some kind of scale," said Rick Sherman, founder and managing partner of Athena IT Solutions, in a SearchBusinessAnalytics story in July 2019. "Small vendors are going to be bought or merge with more focused niche companies to build a more complete product."

It was a little more than a decade ago that a similar wave of merger and activity reshaped the BI landscape, highlighted by IBM buying Cognos Analytics and SAP acquiring Business Objects.

After the flurry of deals in the spring ending with the premium Salesforce paid for Tableau, the pace of mergers and acquisition activity has slowed since the start of the summer, but more could be coming soon as more vendors with a specialized purpose seek partners with complementary capabilities in an attempt to keep pace with competitors that have already filled out their analytics stack.

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How do you think the BI landscape will look when the ongoing wave of merger and acquisition activity among vendors eventually subsides?
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As in any industry, the outcome of prolific M&A activity depends on looking a bit closer at the reasons the activity took place. Are these acquiring companies buying technologies, products, people, user bases, market share or brands? Each (one hopes!) will have their own justification for what is not only a big spend but also a major commitment of pre, during and post-purchase management time. 
It's a sad fact that the expectations of most such activity, over time, is reduced rather than increased business, though of course, there are notable successes. 
What's just as interesting is the way that the fragmentation of the market, after such a consolidation, usually re-emerges, as smart, small companies again see opportunities.
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