While the online analytical processing (OLAP) sector grew by a healthy 45 per cent to about $2 billion in 1998-99, leading vendors can expect to start losing market share over the next year as Microsoft starts making an impact.
This includes Hyperion, which consolidated its position as the number one OLAP vendor last year with a 29 per cent share of the market, following its merger with Arbor. The move pushes Oracle firmly into second place, with its own market share slipping from 20.7 percent to 17 percent.
But Nigel Pendse, author of the Olap Report, says that as Microsoft and its application partners come out with packages based around OLE DB Server next year, it will have a profound impact on the sector.
"There?s no doubt that Year 2000 concerns are playing a part in putting back major decisions, but the real problem is these vendors are looking at the world through old eyes or have serious management problems," he claims.
He also notes that the market is becoming more rather than less fragmented as new entrants ride the Microsoft wave.
"Cognos says the food hasn?t been served yet, but it hasn?t noticed that the likes of Knossis have already eaten it," he says.
Knossis is a tools vendor that is developing applications based on the Panorama technology that Microsoft acquired from Israeli firm, Panorama Software, in 1997. It claims it will have between 30,000-50,000 seats by the end of the year.
But Rob Zalums, Cognos UK?s managing director, retorts: "Sure we had problems in the middle of last year, but I can tell you we?ll blow the doors off Nigel?s predictions this year. This is fun, and I have absolutely no worries."
As for Hyperion, Pendse says: "The merger worked out far worse than anyone thought. Arbor took an underwhelming product set (Hyperion) and then told the sales people they were walking on fire. It lost a lot of good sales people and is really late with the next version of its Olap engine."
But Tony Speakman, Hyperion UK?s marketing director, responded: "I thoroughly accept the market is more competitive, but having been through very painful mergers, I can assure you ours was the least difficult I have experienced. Perhaps Nigel may not have complete information."
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