Cognos Crafts Applix Integration Road Map

Despite the looming IBM buyout, Cognos has drafted an integration plan for the Applix product line.

Cognos officials said on Dec. 11 that they have drafted an integration road map for the Applix products that Cognos acquired in September and have rebranded the software to align with Cognos' performance management vision.

But with Cognos in turn being acquired by IBM, it's unclear where the company's performance management road map will ultimately end up. Performance management is a hot sector in enterprise software that is being developed not only by pure-play business intelligence providers like Cognos, but by software giants IBM, SAP and Oracle as well.

That is why Cognos was willing to spend $339 million to acquire Applix to expand its business performance management portfolio. It's also one of the reasons IBM was willing to spend $5 billion to acquire Cognos.

Applix's software complements, rather than duplicates, Cognos' performance management software by bringing additional capabilities for analysis and optimization of complex financial performance, particularly through its Applix TM1 business rules engine, a 64-bit in-memory multidimensional OLAP (online analytical processing) server.

The Applix TM1 family of products has been rebranded as the Cognos TM1 Server, TM1 Excel, TM1 Web and TM1 Executive Viewer. Cognos also plans to integrate the TM1 suite with its own Cognos 8 BI Software by mid-2008, according to Doug Barton, vice president of performance management marketing.

"We will bring [features like] interactive Web-based reporting and event management to the TM1 community, which numbers about 3,000 strong," Barton said.

The rebranding effort also means Applix software is available on Cognos' licenses, according to Barton.

The company also announced Dec. 11 the availability of two new Cognos Blueprints, which are free sets of application briefs, business guides, Web seminars and data models designed to help customers plan their performance management processes. The Strategic Finance Performance Blueprint is essentially a performance management framework for financial planning and the evaluation of long-range plans and strategies.


Read more here about Cognos' acquisition of Applix.

The Sales Quota Allocation Blueprint for Life Sciences helps pharmaceutical companies better anticipate clinical trial requirements and accompanying expenses to comply with FDA filing requirements.

The Blueprints are developed by Cognos' Innovation Center for Performance Management—which has about 30 such blueprints under its belt—and act as a component of the company's Performance Management System, which combines technology, best practices and analytical applications. The Center also pushes along Cognos' theme of tapping performance management as a key addition to its core BI portfolio.

"Six years ago, we articulated a vision enabling and engaging everyone in an organization with managing performance in a systemic way," Cognos CEO Rob Ashe said in a statement.


"Over the next two years, we invested in building the technology platform for performance management. And most recently we defined the 'sweet spots' where performance management has the highest impact and offered customers pre-built solutions," the statement said.

"Our goal now is to set the market pace with a complete performance management system that enables both operational and financial performance management, underpinned with a market leading business intelligence solution," Ashe's statement said.

Cognos, however, is facing its own impending acquisition—which could throw its performance management road map into disarray, at least temporarily. IBM announced Nov. 12 its plans to acquire Cognos for about $5 billion in a deal that is designed to support IBM's Information on Demand strategy, which brings together the company's integration, content and data management divisions with its consulting services group.

Steve Mills, IBM's senior vice president and group executive, said in a statement at the time the deal was announced that the Cognos acquisition positions IBM well "for the changing Business Intelligence and Performance Management industry," indicating a serious interest in Cognos' road map regarding Applix and performance management in general.

SAP and IBM, which also have clearly defined corporate performance management and closely related governance, risk and compliance road maps, both also recently acquired BI software vendors. In February, Oracle acquired Hyperion for $3.3 billion in a move to expand its performance management systems.

In October, SAP announced its intent to acquire Business Objects in a $6.7 billion deal. Earlier in December, SAP said it plans to fold Business Objects into its business applications user group, which focuses on CPM and GRC development, when the deal closes in the near future.

Cognos plans to unveil the next iteration of its Cognos 8 performance management software in January, and IBM's acquisition is expected to close during the first quarter of 2008.


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