Manugistics, Cognos Strike Alliance

Facing elusive sales, companies are once again turning toward supply chain management solutions as a way to cut costs. And vendors haven't missed the signs, either. They're ramping up products, expanding portfolios and striking up partnerships, in hopes of riding the supply chain resurgence. The latest vendor buzz: supply chain software vendor Manugistics announced today a global alliance with business intelligence developer Cognos. The deal calls for Cognos to embed its analytics tools into Manugistics' analytics offering, called Networks Oneview, which hooks into Manugistics flagship supply chain management suite. The combined product promises to deliver real-time business and customer insight by sifting through data warehouses and other enterprise applications. "The extensive functionality offered by Manugistics and Cognos will enable the deliver of fully integrated planning, execution and business analytics that help enable proactive, intelligent and ultimately profitable decisions across the value chain," says Lori Mitchell-Keller, senior vide president of marketing strategy at Manugistics. The Manugistics-Cognos announcement comes at a time when companies are finding it difficult to grow revenues, says Tim Minahan, director of supply chain management research at Aberdeen Group. Many companies are looking to cut costs through better strategic and tactical decision-making concerning their suppliers. For instance, if a truck breaks down, real-time business intelligence can help a company determined the best course of action, whether it means pulling inventory from another warehouse or re-ordering goods from a second or third-tier supplier. Business intelligence is an important component to supply chain management but not something that Manugistics wanted to tackle in-house. And filling the analytics gap has been a challenge for the software vendor. Three years ago, Manugistics brought business intelligence in the form of OLAP tools to its suite, via a partnership with Proclarity and, later, Enquire. Then Enquire was acquired by CRM vendor Siebel Systems, which was slowly infringing on Manugistics' supply-side turf. "Siebel acquired them, and let's just say their plans changed," says Mitchell-Keller. Manugistics decided it was time for a change. After evaluating 130 business intelligence vendors, Manugistics finally settling on Cognos. For starters, Cognos technology uses a browser-based interface, complementing Web-based Manugistics 7 suite. "Cognos provides a pretty good interface for reporting," explains Minahan. Cognos also has an impressive footprint, serving more than 20,000 customers in 135 countries.
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