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Cognos Talks Up Results, Outlines New Products.

On the back of its fourth quarter figures (CI No 3,635) Cognos Inc is now claiming to be the biggest vendor in the business intelligence (BI) market. The UK managing director of the Ottawa, Canada-based company, Robert Zalums, says that the 23% hike in revenues for the year has been driven by the firm's web based products. Zalums claimed that Cognos now owns 50% of the market for web-based BI tools. Zalums said that Cognos would attempt to build on its presence in the web space, with a product called Upfront, which is Cognos' take on the hot product in the BI market - enterprise information portals (EIP). Like Information Advantage Result Inc's MyEureka tool and a host of forthcoming products from other BI vendors, Upfront is modeled on the Yahoo concept of a portal, allowing users create portfolios which track specific data held within their enterprise systems. Upfront is due out in August. Talking about the general state of the BI market, Zalums brushed off fears of being squeezed at the high and low end by the entry of established IT juggernauts and new players in the business intelligence market. He claimed that Oracle Corp and SAP AG were "unfocused" in their efforts to break into the market. He also dismissed claims by others in the industry that Cognos would be harmed by Microsoft Corp's entry into the market with Sequel Server 7 and the OLAP functionality that will be integrated in Excel 2000, due to be released with the new version of Microsoft's Office suite. Cognos has taken a proprietary approach to data transformation in its Powerplay tools, where others have used the OLAP and MDX query functionality in SQL7. This will result in new breed of "$100 a seat vendors" according to industry watchers such as Mike Norman, senior analyst at the Data warehousing Tools Bulletin (CI No 3,583). Zalums disputed this, claiming that the "market is favoring Powerplay." He also talked up Cognos' low cost Novaview tool, which the company licenses from Panorama Software - the Tel Aviv, Israel-based company that Microsoft bought the Plato OLAP services technology for SQL7 from in October 1996. "You can't get tighter integrated to SQL7 than that, Zalums said. Despite this, he admitted that Novaview had not yet made much of an impact on the market. Finally, he revealed that Cognos would be releasing a new front-end tool for Powerplay in June which would allow the user to "surf over a landscape of data." The Visualizer tool will offer an animated three dimensional view of data. For instance, a user could zoom over a map of Europe with 3D graphs emerging from each country. Clicking on the graph would take the user into Powerplay for more detailed reports on the data represented. The graphical representation of data can also be adjusted by the user, who can define variables, such as time frames, which will alter the view of the data.
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Publication:Computergram International
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Apr 12, 1999
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