Seagate’s giveaway

Seagate Software, supplier of business intelligence tools, is to offer two products free of charge in a bold bid to gain control of the small and medium company market.

At last week’s launch, Seagate said it would give away millions of licences for its new product, Seagate Analysis. It is also offering free licences of Seagate Info 7, an online analytical package.

The software can be downloaded from Seagate’s website or installed from a CD-ROM and will work with most commercial databases. Over the next few months Seagate will mail CD-ROMs to IT managers in around 2.5 million companies worldwide.

Peter Daffern, Seagate’s vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said the giveaway would make business intelligence applications more attractive for SMEs. ‘Less than five per cent of people in organisations are getting this stuff,’ he said. ‘Users have not known about business intelligence because it cost too much or because they were petrified to use it.’

Daffern predicted Seagate would expand its market share against competitors such as Cognos, because companies with over 50 users would still want to pay for the more high-powered analysis features of Seagate Info 7.

Dennis Keeling, however, chief executive of software trade association BASDA, said giving away business intelligence tools would not overcome the integration problems small companies faced in linking the application to accountancy software packages from the likes of Sage and Pegasus.

‘Giving away free copies of the software is useless unless you can pull data across to the business intelligence program,’ he said.

As well as facing competition from the market leader Cognos, a three-strong partnership between Comshare, Great Plains and Deloitte & Touche Management Solutions is gearing up in order to take on Seagate in the middle market. Later this month the triumvirate will launch an integrated enterprise-wide system – based on Great Plains’ financial management system Dynamics – which will feature built-in reporting and analysis features from Comshare.

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