Some quick thoughts in connection with IBM’s just-announced plans to acquire Cognos.
1. Ironically, IBM just put out a press release describing a strong-sounding reseller partnership with Business Objects. The deal specified that
Business Objects will begin distributing and reselling IBM DB2 Warehouse with Business Objects XI and CFO Performance Management solutions. In addition, IBM will include a starter edition of Business Objects XI with DB2 and DB2 Warehouse.
Jeff Jones of IBM told me that they also had a partnership with Cognos, but with different details. I guess Cognos will eventually take over that deal, which is an obvious negative for Business Objects.
2. More generally, I can see where Cognos will now likely gain share at DB2 sites, and IBM/Ascential at Cognos sites. I can’t as easily see why Cognos would now lose share at Oracle or Teradata or Netezza sites, or why Ascential would lose share at SAP/BOBJ sites. So there seem to be some genuine synergies here, albeit perhaps modest ones.
3. Thus, I think the negatives in this deal for the remaining independents (Microstrategy, Information Builders, Informatica, etc.) will somewhat outweigh the positives.
4. I’m not a big fan of Cognos’ management, former CEO Ron Zambonini and a few other freethinkers excepted. So from that standpoint I don’t think they have a lot to lose being taken over by Big Blue.
5. Obviously, with most of the dominoes now fallen, the big question is about the future of BI as it – potentially – gets integrated into much larger enterprise technology suites. And I think the answer to that depends a lot more on technology than most people seem to realize. More on that subject later, but here’s one hint:
I think fixing the disappointment that is dashboards will involve taking query volumes up by at least 2 to 3 orders of magnitude. So as great as recent innovations in analytic query performance have been, I hope and trust that so far we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg.