If I weren’t on a snorkeling vacation,* this might be a good time to write about why I once called Cognos “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight,” how Ron Zambonini used that label to help him gain the company’s top spot, why he’s such a big fan of mine, why I got my highest ever per-minute speaking fee to attend a Cognos sales kickoff event, why I went for a midnight touristing stroll in downtown Ottawa in zero degree Fahrenheit weather, or how I managed, while attending the aforementioned Cognos sales kickoff, to get snowed in for three days in, of all places, Dallas, Texas. But the wrasses and jacks await, so I’ll get straight to the point.
*Albeit fairly snorkel-free so far, thanks to Hurricane Felix.
As I discussed at considerable length in a white paper, Applix’s core technology is fully-featured, memory-centric MOLAP. This is certainly cool technology, and I think it is actually unique. That it’s historically been positioned as the engine for a mid-range set of performance management tools is a travesty, a shame, the result of a prior merger – and also the quite understandable consequence of RAM limitations. However, RAM is ever cheaper and Applix’s technology is now 64-bit, so the RAM barriers have been relaxed. Cognos can take Applix’s TM1 engine high-end if it wants to. And boy, should Cognos ever want to. Indeed, there are three different great ways Cognos could package and position TM1:
- As a no-data-warehouse-design quick-start analytics engine analogous to QlikView (the fastest-growing and most important newish BI suite, open source perhaps excepted);
- As the most sophisticated and versatile planning tool this side of SAP’s APO (and while APO’s sophistication is not in dispute, its versatility is questionable anyway);
- As the processing hub for dashboards-done-right.
#1, however, would probably involve realism about the state of Cognos’s overall product integration. Oops. Meanwhile, #2 and #3 would each involve innovating and developing an unproven market. Not bloody likely. Indeed, in the case of #3, Cognos long ago squandered its first crack at this opportunity, when it didn’t build on the lead provided by Cognos Metrics Manager.
So the most likely case is that Applix winds up being just an incremental and inconsequential addition to Cognos’s ever more diverse and unintegrated product set.