IBM, Adobe, and the future of the analytics market

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With IBM’s recent acquisition of Unica we have seen the next phase in the entry of large players in the analytics market.  It was only two weeks ago that they bought Coremetrics.

IBM follows Adobe’s lead in the acquisition of analytics solutions.  Adobe threw its hat into the ring in 2009 with its purchase of Omniture, and has invested significant resources into its continued development.  However what was important to really notice about that deal was that Adobe paid $1.8 billion dollars, an acquisition that were most analysts indicated that Adobe overpaid by a wide margin.

The reason is simple: potential.  The grandfather tech companies have begun to take notice of the booming analytics business and they want to incorporate it within their platforms.  With Unica’s purchase we should expect to see a quiet period as as Adobe and IBM integrate the technology within their platforms.  However we should not expect this to be a 2 player world, there is too much money and influence in the analytics business for other gorillas in the business to ignore.

My prediction of who is next?  Oracle.  The company already offers marketing campaign, CMS, and customer engagement products and solutions.  The only piece they’re missing is analytics.  Not to be biased but I would argue that of all the solutions, analytics is the most important.  So who would they buy?

Predicta: A Brazilian analytics player with a solid management team that is providing tremendous value for its clients through the extension of modules that extend the value of data.

Webtrends: An oldie, but goodie.  They’ve had some bumpy rides over the past five years trying to get bought out in my opinion.  Their technology roadmap has been very thin and we haven’t seen a lot of innovation from this established player, but they have the potential to break out.

It is in many ways the brain food of a sophisticated e-marketing strategy.  Without analytics one can deliver content or run campaigns, but its like shooting in the dark.  You never know if you hit something on target.  Analytics provides the ability to gain consumer insights and provides actionable intelligence so that marketers can improve their Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).

Little by little companies around the world are becoming ever more aware of the power of such insight, and the limitations of the analytics mainstay (Google).  We’ll be writing an article soon on why Google analytics is not free.

As this process continues we can only expect for the market to continue to grow, and the gorillas know it.  And they want a piece.  Its a vote of confidence in this industry if it ever needed one.

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