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Cognos Two Years Later

IBM Cognos laid out a roadmap for the future and provided a deep dive into the elements of its next major release (due Q2, 2010) in its fourth annual Industry Analyst Summit in Ottawa this week.

Due to confidentiality agreements, there is not much I can discuss publicly about future releases. However, it was refreshing to know that despite being swallowed up by IBM, the original Cognos executive team is still intact, and they seem as engaged and excited as ever. The next release contains many breakthrough features that will make the IBM Cognos offerings extremely compelling.

IBM executives have made a sizable strategic commitment to business analytics and optimization as a major growth area for the $100 billion company. As a consequence, IBM Cognos is playing a pivotal role at IBM, and some of its executives have been tapped to lead the charge corporatewide. To align with the strategy, many IBM business units have been eager to partner with the Cognos team, making it like the proverbial kid in a candy store, able to pick and choose its best go-to-market opportunities. For example, IBM Cognos played a key part in IBM’s recent SmartAnalytics announcement. (See “IBM Rediscovers Itself.”)

With IBM opening many new channels and markets and expanding Cognos’ development and marketing resources, IBM Cognos is experiencing a financial uplift. Rob Ashe, IBM’s general manager of business intelligence and performance management, announced by video that IBM Cognos has grown license revenues by 30% this past year.

IBM Cognos Express

While at the event, IBM Cognos announced its new mid-market product, IBM Cognos Express. Although it’s lagged behind competitors in delivering a product in this space, IBM Cognos may end up the winner. Instead of just repackaging its enterprise product with a different license model, IBM Cognos has thought long and hard about what mid-market customers need and subsequently created an entirely new end-to-end product designed suit those requirements. IBM Cognos Express borrows IBM and Cognos technologies to deliver a product that is easy to buy, simple to install, easy to use, and easy to maintain.

IBM Cognos Express offers integrated modules for query, reporting, analysis, visualization, dashboarding, and planning. Once installed, the product essentially creates a local data mart (via TM1) behind the scenes. The product supports a maximum of 100 users running a single server. And here’s the one downside: if users outgrow the IBM Cognos Express solution, they can either purchase another Express server or buy and install IBM Cognos 8 BI and migrate their data, models, and reports.

Pricing starts at $12,500, with fees for users, administrators, and data connectors. What’s most interesting is that prospects can download and try the product for 30 days and even finance the purchase from IBM Global Financing. On the surface, this product should resonate well with the mid-market. It’s good to see a company that tries to understand its customers before shoving products down their throats!

Posted by Wayne Eckerson on September 17, 2009


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