MicroStrategy eyes rivals' employees, customers

Analyst calls recruiting program "savvy, aggressive move".

The fallout from the consolidation of the business intelligence industry took a new turn last week as MicroStrategy disclosed plans to aggressively recruit employees and customers of two competitors that have recently agreed to be acquired.

The BI vendor outlined plans for the effort just a week after IBM agreed to buy Cognos for US$5 billion. A month earlier, SAP disclosed plans to acquire BI vendor Business Objects SA for US$6.7 billion.

MicroStrategy aims to hire Business Objects and Cognos sales, consulting, engineering, legal, marketing and administrative employees "who feel threatened by the uncertainty in this space," said Vince Gabriele, vice president of worldwide human resources at MicroStrategy.

As part of the recruiting program, MicroStrategy plans to host open houses for workers in 17 US and international offices on November 29 and 30. A task force has been created to receive resumes and follow up on all leads within 48 hours, the company said.

In a November 13 memo obtained by Computerworld, MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor told employees that the company also plans to court customers of Business Objects and Cognos who may be unhappy with the acquisitions.

David O'Connell, an analyst at Nucleus Research, called MicroStrategy's recruiting program a "savvy, aggressive move."

He said that even if MicroStrategy doesn't end up with new employees, the campaign may "be successful in sowing fear, uncertainty and doubt" among Cognos and Business Objects customers, who might be wondering about the fate of employees of those companies.

O'Connell added that the effort to court Cognos and Business Objects customers is sensible because "people who have deployed software always get nervous when someone acquires their [vendors]."

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