Monday, November 12, 2007

News Analysis: IBM Offers to Pick Up Cognos for $4.9B

IBM announced its 23rd acquisition in its information on demand strategy by offering $58 per share (9% premium), or $4.9B for Cognos, the Ottawa, Canada, based BI stalwart with 4000 employees and 25,000 customers worldwide. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year. A quick assessment of the deal:
  • Keeps IBM in the high margin information management services. The most valuable and complicated engagements involve information areas such as BI and performance management. Having Cognos in its arsenal of products and a loyal customer base gives IBM a key tool for future services and software growth. This acquisition is seen as foundational for the Armonk, NY headquartered vendor's information on demand strategy, combining information integration, data management and business consulting services.
  • Builds on existing relationships. The close partnership between IBM and Cognos dates back as early as 1992 and at least 8 integrated offerings that support many joint customers. Hence this takeover is seen as friendly and endorsed by the Cognos board. As evidence of this comfortable acquisition, Cognos' CEO will lead the information management software division.
The bottom line for vendors
The BI space officially is no longer led by Best of Breeds. With Hyperion tied up with Oracle, Business Objects with SAP, and now Cognos with IBM, each of the Big 3 has made its move in the Business Intelligence space. This leaves SAS, headed by Dr. James Goodnight, as the last independent BI vendor. M&A talks seem unlikely, as SAS remains a privately held company, however, Dr. Goodnight has not yet identified a successor.

The bottom line for users
Customers stand to benefit from integrated BI solutions as the Big 4 effectively remove the Best of Breed vendors in BI from the market. This signals the move to incorporate these capabilities into the middleware platforms and create more lock in around the Big 4 offerings. However, customers need to keep in mind the trade off between sole sourcing with one vendor and the risk to innovation.

(The personal contents in this blog do not reflect the opinions, ideas, thoughts, points of view, and any other potential attribution of my current, past, or future employers.)
Copyrighted 2007 by R Wang. All rights reserved

1 comment:

Robert Lendvai said...

For some time now, Cognos has struggled to move their client base from version 7 to 8.

With the fear and uncertainty created with IBM's takeout, enterprises will be even less motivated to make the switch to Cognos8.

Next generation BI solutions like Blink Logic that extend the value of Cognos 7 with advanced BI functionality are nicely positioned to benefit.