SAP digests the acquisition of Business Objects

“We’re bigger in terms of revenue but also in terms of number of employees,” says John Schwarz, CEO of Business Objects.

The former boss of the French software publisher is said to be leaving.

Officially Business Objects and SAP have been on a real honeymoon since their marriage, announced a year ago. The workforce of the Franco-American company, which has become a subsidiary of the German group, has jumped. “We are more important in terms of turnover but also in number of employees”, assures John Schwarz, the managing director of Business Objects (BO), who has become a member of the board of directors of SAP.

The business intelligence software publisher’s brand – decision support – has even gained notoriety, attracting new customers in recent months. In France, the different teams even had to be grouped together in a single headquarters in Paris. Despite these good auspices, the boss of Business Objects in France, Jean-Pierre Brûlard, is said to be leaving. Appointed senior vice-president of the Europe-Middle East-Africa region at Business Objects, just before the takeover by SAP, the latter has seen his field of action shrink since the merger of BO. Asked Wednesday about the possible departure of this leader, John Schwarz only specified that Jean-Pierre Brûlard was still part of the company’s workforce.

Exposure to Finance

According to him, the business of Business Objects is doing well after its takeover by the German software giant. The manager of this SAP subsidiary admits that the financial crisis has not spared his activity. “Overall, banking and insurance account for around 20% of our sales. It would be a lie to say that we were not damaged. But business intelligence solutions are precisely used by companies to help them improve their operational management when times are tough. The fact that SAP, its parent company, is more present in the areas of distribution, energy and transport has compensated for Business Objects’ exposure to the crisis.

On the other hand, the significant presence of BO in the United States and in finance would have benefited SAP. “Integration happens with astonishing ease,” insists John Schwarz. Company cultures are not as different as one might imagine. And to remember that BO and SAP mainly separate human resources functions, legal services, finance… On the other hand, the research and development teams have been kept separate. It is an authoring tool for companies that have chosen Oracle technology over SAP technology. But we will have to wait until next year to see a new commercial offer redesigned since the merger. From now on, all business intelligence software developed by SAP or Cartesis will be branded and sold by BO.


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