BEA Systems ( BEAS) has long been known as one of those technologically solid companies that could deliver the steak, even if it lacked the sizzle of its higher-profile competitors. But a rash of high-profile executive defections this summer, coupled with the company's difficulties in coping with long-term changes in the business software market, are raising questions about BEA's long-term viability as a standalone company. Shorter term, few analysts are predicting a recovery for the company's battered stock, which has lost nearly half its value this year. Significantly, two influential research and consulting companies relied upon by major businesses in making technology buys have in recent weeks warned their clients that BEA's future direction and prospects are unclear. "BEA has six to nine months to do something dramatic," said Yefim Natis, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner Research. "If it does nothing, it will lose market share and lose money." Indeed, license revenue from its core product -- the WebLogic Application Server -- was off 13% in 2003, while IBM ( IBM) managed to boost revenue for its application server by 2% despite brutal pricing pressures, according to Gartner's Joanne M. Correia. And BEA's overall license revenue has dropped on a year-over-year basis the past two quarters. BEA has acknowledged that it must move beyond its core market, and has, in fact, made strides in application and data integration. In fiscal 2004, integration-related revenue more than doubled to $100 million, about 20% of total license revenue, said Kevin Faulkner, the company's vice president of investor relations. But the loss of leaders like Chief Architect Adam Bosworth, who jumped to Google ( GOOG), and CTO Scott Dietzen, is a red flag to analysts who follow the company. "It's the 'vision thing,' " said Forrester Research Senior Vice President Nick Gall. "People are questioning the company's ability to innovate."