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Oracle/Hyperion acquisition probably won't affect channel, analysts said

Oracle's habit of maintaining acquired companies as independent entities implies the main change Hyperion VARs will see is the addition of Oracle products to their portfolio.

News that Oracle Corp. is planning an aquisition of Hyperion Solutions Corp. grabbed the IT world's attention yesterday, but the buyout should not affect the channel partners who integrate and resell Hyperion software -- at least in the short term -- according to analysts.

Oracle announced its intention to buy the Santa Clara, Calif.-based maker of business intelligence (BI) software in an effort to fill in the company's gap in BI, according to Oracle President Charles Phillips.

But analysts said that even after the deal is finalized in April, channel partners will probably see very little change. The Oracle-Hyperion deal will probably look similar to Oracle's previous purchases, such as its acquisition of Siebel Systems in 2005, according to Michael Fauscette, a lead applications analyst at IDC in Framingham, Mass.

In that acquisition, Siebel remained a relatively independent group within Oracle, maintaining its own sales force and channel program, Fauscette said.

Although there's a chance that some Hyperion partners will get jostled by the acquisition, he said, most will find that their business will go on as usual. Some of the stronger partners may find that the deal lets them work with more Oracle products.

Oracle and Hyperion declined to comment on any of the implications for the channel, beyond what the two companies said in press releases and a conference call announcing the deal. But Fauscette said that the company has a "rigid, specific process" for taking companies in, and partners should expect communications from Oracle within two weeks of the deal's closure.

There is some question as to whether some of Oracle's existing products overlap with Hyperion's. Phillips said during the conference call that there is little to no overlap with Oracle products -- a position with which Fauscette agreed. But there is overlap between Hyperion's products and those from Oracle's PeopleSoft group, according to John Van Decker, of Gartner Inc., in Stamford, Conn..

Even so, he said, Oracle will most likely take the acquisition slowly in terms of integrating Hyperion into its own operations. The buyout is mostly a way to increase Oracle's customer base, he said, and challenge rival SAP AG.

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"I would imagine we're going to see status quo for some time," he said.

One change partners may look forward to is the inclusion of Hyperion in Oracle Accelerate, the partner-based approach Oracle has taken to spreading into the small and midsized business (SMB) market.

Fauscette said Hyperion will likely be integrated to the program not very long after the deal goes through.

The Oracle-Hyperion deal could be good news technologically if Oracle is able to pour in its resources to strengthen Hyperion, said John Smith, president and owner of Genau Consulting, a Kokomo, Ind.-based Hyperion consulting partner.

Smith said he hasn't received communications from either company beyond their public announcements, but he hopes Oracle will keep Hyperion's strong channel program intact.

Hyperion limits the number of partners it works with as a way of reducing competition among them, Smith said. Although he was not sure what to expect from the acquisition, Smith said he is not concerned.

"I think overall it's a good thing, because a larger company with more resources can definitely help the product," he said. "And hopefully it'll benefit me."

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