• June 27, 2005
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

Cognos Faces Forward

BI software leader Cognos released the Cognos Performance Management System at its customer conference in Orlando today. The system combines new Cognos BI platform technology announced today, with best practices, services, enterprise performance analysis, and vertical specialization to help customers use information as both a strategic asset and a competitive one. In addition, the company announced the Powered By Cognos partner initiative, a program to support VARs that develop and market products and services built around the Cognos Performance Management System.

At the Orlando conference Rob Ashe, Cognos president and CEO, explained his company's unified approach to BI, noting that customer success is driven by more than just good technology. "[Customers] require solutions, proven best practices, and a thriving partner ecosystem. The Cognos Performance Management System spans these 'whole' product elements imperative to customer success," Ashe said.

The new product comprises four main components:

  • Performance Management Solutions. This includes enterprise performance tools such as strategy and goals management; process-based risk analysis, allocations, and sales compensation, using the company's Plan-to-Perform Blueprints; enterprise performance applications that span finance, operations, customer and workforce areas. Industry-specific frameworks for a number of verticals are included as well: Cognos named pharmaceuticals, financial services, manufacturing, hospitality, retail, healthcare, and education as some of the verticals covered by the system.
  • Integrated Platform for Performance Management. The system's tools for scorecarding, dashboarding, planning, analysis, query and reporting, and event management are all available to partners and customers in order to custom-build the packages they need. These capabilities stem from portions of the Cognos 8 BI platform, announced as beta at today's conference.
  • Best Practices. The Cognos Innovation Center, founded in June 2004, is the company's developer community, enabling the sharing of best practices across Cognos' partner and customer network through actionable Plan-to-Perform Blueprints. The Center is being expanded with new blueprints including best practices in reporting, analysis, dashboarding, and scorecarding, in addition to its original focus on holistic performance management.
  • Platform Services. The Cognos platform is supported by common, open services for security, administration, data integration, information modeling, portal creation, and business modeling.

The launch of the Powered By Cognos partner support program is a crucial component of enabling customers to hold onto competitive advantage through better use of performance data. "Performance management helps to unify the customer view," says Mychelle Mollot, vice president of market strategy for Cognos. "Companies need a performance layer to sit on top of the transactional systems, answering the questions of BI, planning, and scorecarding--the What am I doing, what should I be doing, and how am I doing against my plan? of enterprise operations."
It is also likely to be a magnet for partners: according to a Gartner survey, CPM will grow 13 percent in 2005, passing $650 million in new license revenue. By 2009, Gartner projects the market will reach $900 million with a CAGR of 8.9 percent. Cognos has already signed Deloitte, Accenture, BearingPoint and six others as charter members of Powered By Cognos, with more to follow. Getting in on this expansion of the BI umbrella, providing a framework for organizations to link KPIs to goals and objectives, is going to be a critical arena for BI companies to play in, says Mark Smith, CEO and senior vice president of research for Ventana Research. "Companies have been complacent in only reporting on what they've done in the past. Cognos has made investments in expanding their solutions and planning capabilities, so customers can use information on performance for all aspects of operational management--driving new goals, monitoring adherence to the plan, and improving customer satisfaction through organizational efficiency."

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