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Reactions to IBM -SPSS takeover.

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The business intelligence -business analytics- data mining industry ( or as James Taylor would say Decision Management Industry) have some reactions on IBM – SPSS ( which was NOT a surprise to many including me). Really.

From SAS Institute, Anne Milley

http://blogs.sas.com/sascom/index.php?/archives/557-Analytics-is-still-our-middle-name.html

Besides SAS, SPSS was one of the last independent analytic software companies. A colleague says, “It’s the end of the analytics cold war.”

I’ve been saying all along that analytics is required for success. Yes, data integration, data quality, and query & reporting are important too but, as W. Edwards Deming says, “The object of taking data is to provide a basis for action.”

The end of the analytics cold war- hmm. We all know what the end of real cold war brought us- Google, Cloud Computing, and other non technical issues.

From KXEN, Roger Hadaad

“The price paid for SPSS of four times revenues and 25 times earnings shows just how valuable this sector really is,” says Haddad. “But the deal has also created a tremendous opportunity for the sector’s remaining independent vendors that

KXEN is well placed to capitalize on. “There is no For Sale sign hanging in our window,” continues Haddad. “We launched KXEN in 1998 to democratize the benefits of data mining and predictive analytics, making them practical and affordable across the whole enterprise and not just the exclusive preserve of a few specialists. It’s going to take up to two years for the dust to settle following the IBM

“Former SPSS partners, systems integrators and distributors will face uncertainty.”

I think the PE multiple was still low- SPSS was worth more if you count the client base, active community, brand itself in the valuation. Tremendous cross sell opportunities and IBM with it’s nice research and development is a good supporter of pure science.  Yes, next two years would be facing increasing consolidation and more “surprising” news. At 4 times earnings, anyone can be bought in the present market if it is a public listed company. ;)

From the rather subdued voices on SPSS list, some subjective and non quantitative ‘strategic” forecasts.

http://www.listserv.uga.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0907&L=spssx-l&F=&S=&P=36324

I think the Ancient Chinese said it best “May you live in interesting times”.

Having worked with some flavors of Cognos and SPSS, I think there could be areas for technical integration for querying and GUI based forecasting as well, apart from financial mergers and administrative re adjustments. I mean people pull data not just to report it, but to estimate what comes next as well.

This could also spell the end of uni platform skilled analysts. You now need to learn atleast two different platforms like SAS,SPSS or KXEN, R or Cognos, Business Objects to hedge your chances of getting offshored (Note- I worked in offshoring for almost 4 years in India in data analytics).

Answering what IBM will do with SPSS and it’s open source commitment to R and consequences for employees, customers, vendors,partners who have more choices now than ever.

…. well it depends. Who is John Galt?


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