As Oracle, SAP and IBM snap up rivals in business analytics software, Information Builders will stay independent, founding CEO Gerald D. Cohen told International Business Times.
We're right in the middle of activity, providing business intelligence, Cohen told IBTimes in his New York headquarters. We are going to stay here while all the other guys get bought up.
Cohen told IBTimes that 36-year-old Information Builders is well-positioned to grow into the era of smartphones and tablets and so-called big data, having survived from the era of mainframe computers, minicomputers and client-server computing.
Meanwhile, public and private rivals are constantly being acquired. The latest was SuccessFactors, a San Mateo, Calif.-based developer of employee performance software, which agreed Dec. 3 to a $3.4 billion buyout from Germany's SAP.
In October, SAP's principal U.S. rival, Oracle, acquired private Endeca Software, a specialist in analytical intelligence software for as much as $900 million, Nomura Securities estimated, followed by the announced acquisition of RightNow Technologies for $1.5 billion.
Other Information Builders rivals such as Cognos and Algorithmics have been acquired by IBM; Hewlett-Packard completed the $10.5 billion purchase of Autonomy in October.
Cohen, 76, told IBTimes most of the other business analytics companies were bankrolled by venture capitalists who seek an ultimate cash-out and profit. Information Builders was started by Cohen and two now-retired partners, Peter Mittelman and Martin Slagowitz with sweat equity and no backing from anyone.
Starting with the original Focus software written in the old IBM mainframe era, Information Builders now derives nearly 75 percent of annual revenue exceeding $300 million from its successor product, WebFocus, including both software and services.
The private equity guys are all aware of us, Cohen told IBTimes. The software people are all aware of us. But with about 1,500 global employees, including 700 in Manhattan, New York City's biggest software company plans to remain alone.
Cohen, who told IBTimes he has no plans to retire, said he wants to be the Sumner Redstone of the IT industry, referring to the 88-year-old principal shareholder and chairman of both Viacom and CBS.
Information Builders is well-placed with WebFocus for most enterprise data needs, including predictive analysis that can be used for determining good risks for a new-car loan or for policing, Cohen said.
Police departments such as in Charlotte, N.C., use it for determining where to send patrol cars and extra manpower for coming shifts based on historical data from the prior shift as well as the knowledge commanders have of factors including events, availability of social service checks and other matters, Cohen said.
Listed by Gartner in its Magic Quadrant of business analytics software companies, Information Builders still needs to execute better, Cohen added. International revenue, now around 30 percent, can be expanded greatly, he acknowledged. Most U.S. software giants derive the majority of revenue offshore.
Staying independent will also mean Information Builders will have to adapt WebFocus to the emerging era of the iPad and other tablets, add more staff outside of New York and keep developing tools to compete with the giants like Oracle and IBM.
The large vendors have a stack of products because they have components from five different companies, Cohen told IBTimes. Once a customer orders it, the company may take a year to get it installed. We can get it done in two months.
U.S. shares of SAP eased two percent Monday, while Oracle shares rose 2.2 percent, IBM rose 0.5 percent and HP gained 1.6 percent. Shares of Information Builders rivals such as MicroStrategy and QlikTechnologies both gained nearly four percent, while Tibco Software shares rose one percent.