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First Business Objects, Now Cognos Says Brio No Competition.

By Siobhan Kennedy

Arch rivals Cognos Inc and Business Objects SA have finally managed to agree on one thing. Despite analysts' claims to the contrary, both business intelligence vendors say they don't consider Brio Technology Inc as serious competition. Business Objects was the first to dismiss the rival, last week, but earlier this week, a spokesperson for Cognos agreed that Brio hardly ever shows up when pitching for new accounts. "It almost kills me to say I agree with Business Objects, but I have to say we almost never come up against Brio," said Rob Rose, Cognos' VP, product marketing. Like Business Objects, Rose says that Brio's acquisition of Sqribe Technology was more driven by competition, and less by getting its hands on decent reporting technology. But Brio says Sqribe's SQR-based reporting tool puts it two years ahead of both Business Objects and Cognos. "They're only saying that because that's what they've got," Rose said, "Sqribe's technology is old and highly flexible, but because of that it means you have to write code like a weasel to get stuff done."

Predictably, Rose agrees with analysts who say that Business Objects'approach - object oriented based reporting - isn't necessarily the best way forward either. That's why Cognos has gone for the C and C++ approach with its reporting suite Impromtu, he says. Programming in SQR means you have to write everything, draw every line and enter in all the data, "Yes, it's flexible but it means you may as well be writing in Cobol," Rose said, "but I don't blame Brio for putting a good face on a bunch of old stuff, but that's what it is." But Dan Jewett, product marketing manager at Brio yesterday dismissed BO and Cognos' comments as "marketing spin." He said there was no question that Cognos is "clearly the revenue leader," and that Business Objects was second. "But Brio is definitely third in the business intelligence space," he added.

Moreover, he says that when Brio's acquisition of Sqribe closes in July, the new company's combined revenue will be around the $100m mark, "which very much closes the gap between ourselves and Business Objects," he said. He acknowledged that both Cognos and BO were both stronger than Brio internationally but said the company was working to address that. As for neither of the vendors ever bumping into Brio when pitching for new accounts he said that was particularly surprising, especially given Cognos' very strong dependence on its channel sales. "I find it amazing that they [Cognos] say they don't see us head to head in many deals because they don't have a large direct sales model." He added: "Certainly, when the Global 1000 companies are looking at implementing business intelligence solutions, all three vendors make it to the shortlist." As for Sqribe's technology being out of date, Jewett said that while the underlying syntax and language remained the same, the SQR engine had recently undergone a complete overhaul. "What Sqribe offers is a complete enterprise reporting solution," he said, "whereas Cognos' and BO's are really only analytical reporting tools. Neither company has anything that plays in the same space."
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Publication:Computergram International
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 9, 1999
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