Cognos to Acquire Applix for $339 Million

The deal gives Cognos greater capabilities as it fends off larger rivals such as SAP and Oracle in the BI space.

Business intelligence software developer Cognos announced Sept. 5 plans to buy Applix for about $339 million in cash. The deal will almost double Cognos customer base and add much needed financial performance analytics capabilities to the companys existing BI suite.

Entrenched—and global—ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications providers SAP and Oracle are pushing aggressively into the BI space, squeezing pure-play vendors like Cognos and Business Objects with a focus on the concerns of chief financial officers and financial performance management functionality.

Applix, of Westborough, Mass., will complement Cognos latest BI software—Cognos 8 Planning, 8 Controller and 8 Business Intelligence—by bringing additional capabilities for analysis and optimization of complex financial performance management, officials said. Applix will bring finance self-service modules with a business rules engine, as well as Applix TM1, the companys 64-bit in-memory multidimensional OLAP (online analytical processing) server.

In-memory is fast becoming the method of choice for storing business intelligence data since it enables the fast query and retrieval of data. SAP has developed its own in-memory capabilities that underlie its business intelligence software, while Oracle acquired TimesTen, an in-memory database provider, in 2005 and has since integrated the capabilities with its more traditional database offerings.


Click here to read more about SAPs in-memory technology.

"This acquisition is a terrific strategic fit for Cognos. Applix will broaden our solution offering and provide Cognos with an innovative, 64-bit, in-memory analytics capability," Cognos CEO Rob Ashe said in a statement. "It will also bring into the company a very strong employee and customer base that has been committed to performance management through high-impact analytics. This is another major step forward for Cognos in delivering leading performance management solutions to finance and across operations."

In January, Cognos acquired Celequest, a company that develops a BI appliance that utilizes in-memory technology that stores data in memory rather than at the database level. The result is faster query times on BI requests with the capability to support thousands of concurrent users with little latency of information. Since the capability, dubbed Lava, comes in the form of an appliance—essentially hardware that plugs into a network—users are able to deploy BI functionality in a short time frame measured in days, according to Celequests Web site.

The Applix acquisition will add about 3,000 customers to Cognos existing roster of 3,500 customers using Cognos financial performance management software. Cognos will also retain more than 200 Applix employees that are focused on developing—and delivering—financial management software, officials said.

Both companies expect the deal to close, subject to standard regulatory approvals, in the fourth quarter.


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