StatSoft will broaden Dell’s analytics portfolio, and get access to Dell’s sales and marketing channels. Dell has a number of options, creating an element of uncertainty about what it intends to do with the acquisition.
On 24 March 2014, Dell announced that it has acquired StatSoft, a provider of statistical analysis and advanced analytics technology. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The advanced analytics market is hot, and we have seen several acquisitions in this space as software vendors look to add these capabilities. Dell’s StatSoft deal follows its 2012 purchase of Quest Software, which gave it the Toad business intelligence (BI) platform and Kitenga for big data analysis.
StatSoft will fill the advanced analytics gap in Dell’s growing software portfolio and boost its information management strategy. StatSoft, a Challenger in Gartner’s Advanced Analytics Magic Quadrant, has a large user base for its Statistica package, broad functionality and happy customers. But Dell’s acquisition of a 30-year old software platform seems at odds with its vision of being a next-generation big data company.
Dell is diversifying its overall business by building services and software around its core hardware offerings. We believe that a strategic sales approach will be critical if this deal is to succeed. While Dell has a presence in many large enterprises, it has increasingly focused on bringing value to the midmarket.
Gartner believes that Dell has several possible strategies:
Push StatSoft to its large enterprise customers, to compete with the likes of IBM and SAS. This would be a logical “me too” strategy, but we believe it would be unlikely to succeed, given IBM and SAS’s track record and market share, and large enterprises’ big data needs.
Bundle its own and StatSoft’s offerings into point solutions for large organizations and small and midsize businesses. This could be the most promising strategy, as it appeals to the rapidly growing packaged analytic applications market. But it requires strong connections with line-of-business users that Dell and StatSoft lack at present.
Bundle its own and StatSoft’s offerings into solutions for “power” desktop users targeted at the midmarket. This would be most in tune with Dell's and StatSoft’s current target audience, but wouldn’t necessarily create strong synergies.
Integrate StatSoft into Quest to form a combined BI/analytics suite. This is closest to the strategy that Dell has announced and would mirror the strategy of other analytics vendors. But Gartner believes that Dell has been slow to capitalize and build on its BI investments. This strategy will take time, and we believe that Dell’s existing BI tools are not yet competitive with other market players.
These options are not mutually exclusive, and some may work better than others. But all have different implications for StatSoft customers and Dell prospects. Until Dell clarifies its intentions, we believe there will be some uncertainty about its plans for StatSoft. We also anticipate a steep learning curve for Dell in advanced analytics, and it remains to be seen whether it can access the all-important CIO/IT buyers for analytics software.
Dell customers looking for predictive analytics: Add StatSoft to your shortlist, but ask Dell to share with you its road map and timing. Integration with other Dell platforms is unlikely within the next 12 months.
StatSoft customers: Monitor the acquisition’s progress. StatSoft's and Dell’s management have expressed their intention to retain staff, but their ultimate success in doing so will indicate the future for StatSoft’s product line and current exemplary support within its parent company.