IBM puts information sell on Cognos customers

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IBM puts information sell on Cognos customers

IBM has set the tone for this year’s Cognos Forum by putting the sell on Cognos customers to ascribe to a wider 'information agenda' vision.

In his keynote speech, Ambuj Goyal, general manager of IBM information management, urged existing customers to think about how they could reuse the information from departmental business intelligence (BI) and performance management projects more widely in their organisations.

“Information as an asset can be used beyond a single application,” said Goyal.

“Think about how information can be used across multiple applications, systems and optimisation opportunities, and how to manage it [and] you will see significant advantages.”

A key point of interest in the keynote was the new Cognos positioning. Goyal described Cognos as ‘the tip of the iceberg’ - where the iceberg is IBM’s information supply chain.

IBM has invested heavily in the information agenda vision. Goyal alone claims to have ‘overspent by about US$8 billion’ acquiring all the necessary pieces, including Cognos.

The resulting information agenda is intended as a visionary framework that customers can follow.

It is intended that customers use an existing BI or performance management project as the starting point, and go from there.

According to former Cognos president and CEO (now general manager of IBM BI and performance management), Rob Ashe, this was always the direction Cognos wanted to go in, but it never had the capital to fully realise the vision.

“When you’re a small company with plans to be big, you grow organically, acquire or get acquired,” Ashe told iTnews.

“We just didn’t have the capacity to acquire all the pieces that ultimately form the basis of this type of solution.

“Now with IBM, there is so much stuff and resources for us to access that we couldn’t access before,” Ashe said.

Ashe believes that many existing Cognos customers are evaluating the framework as a foundation to build up an agenda internally.

“A lot of acquisitions are good for the acquiring company and not for the acquired customers,” explained Ashe.

“We’ve spent a lot of time getting our [joint] strategy and vision right. If you get it right people will follow it.”

On the surface, the strategy is at odds with Cognos’ focus of the past several years, which has been much more about the products than a wider information design vision.

Ashe contends, however, that both companies were ‘going to the same place’.

“The journey is just different,” said Ashe.

“We were taking smaller steps but now we’ve been able to take a couple of giant leaps with IBM.”

An information agenda is said to consist of three elements - an information management technology stack that includes content, storage, and data governance; industry blueprints or frameworks that form repeatable re-usable assets; and services.

Ry Crozier attended Cognos Forum 2008 as a guest of Cognos.
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