Cognos CEO Paints the Future of Performance Management

Upgrades for Version 8.3 are broken up into two groups: new capabilities for users, and upgrades to the platform.

New York-At an event Jan. 15, here at Gotham Hall, a renovated bank with towering pillars, gilded filigree and Old-World grandeur, Cognos CEO Rob Ashe worked to draw a parallel between the building's structure-solid, impressive-and the company's latest platform release, Cognos 8.3. He also touched on Cognos' imminent merger with IBM, a deal that will only increase Cognos' ability to build on its performance management strategy, he said.

To read more about how IBM's acquisition of Cognos reflects consolidation in the BI market, click here.Performance management has become the buzzword in a rapidly consolidating business intelligence industry. Within the BI context, the goal of performance management is to provide the right data at the right time to the right person so that businesspeople such as marketing managers can meet performance metrics. The goal of performance management at the executive level is to help companies better plan and execute against performance metrics. And it's an area coveted by customers, according to analysts and vendors. Oracle acquired Hyperion in 2007 for its performance management capabilities, followed by SAP's pending acquisition of Business Objects to supplement its corporate performance management strategy and IBM's acquisition of Cognos.

"Shareholders voted [Jan. 14] overwhelmingly, 99.9 percent, in favor of the acquisition and the Cognos team is very excited about what the merger holds for Cognos," Ashe said. "The fact is that between IBM and Cognos there is virtually no overlap. That lets us continue our innovation with performance management. We're not going to be spending our time rationalizing products. We'll focus on continued innovation and a shared vision around performance management."

The acquisition by IBM, expected to close this quarter, has somewhat overshadowed the launch of Cognos 8.3. But this latest release does drive the company's performance management platform approach. Cognos 8, released in 2006, was really the big bang release for the company in terms of providing a BI platform. What 8.3 brings is the ability to offer reporting capabilities to more people in the enterprise, which has been the goal of BI vendors for years: to move beyond the 15 to 20 percent penetration point largely attained through hard-core data analyst and IT users.