IBM Hypes Cognos 10, Looks Over Shoulder Sees Ballmer’s Head!

I love working with top BI and Data Management talent – knee deep and waist high in informatics data models, fighting to build capability and deliver innovative self-service BI tools against a backdrop of often fluid and ambiguous customer requirements.  Yes, is this not living the dream? I think so, but that's me.


 IBM has been aggressively working to be a leading player in the BI game, and today's big launch of Cognos 10 is no doubt a key piece of their going forward strategy.   With Gartner's recent report on the state of the BI scene and how the battle field is still “wide open”, you have to start to wonder whether big blue is getting a bit worried about the noise Microsoft is starting to make in the market.  On the one hand, looking at IBM's growth numbers of 14% over the 08-09 campaign, it's clear that IBM is growing market share at the expense of its competitors – what the numbers might not reflect however, is how much of that growth is true organic growth versus aggregated business resulting from pure acquisition.  A week hardly goes by when you don't hear about IBM making another strategic purchase – last week it was news of the purchase of Clarity Systems, provider of financial governance software and, might I add, a made-in-Canada, Toronto based firm.  Digging a bit deeper however, it likely doesn't bode well that Microsoft ranked #2 in growth, up an impressive 8.5% over the same time frame.

I for one have been very impressed by what Microsoft quietly has been working on and unveiled earlier this year as part of the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 splash – I even covered the event and wrote about it in June, remarking how the building of a solid BI toolset atop a proven, popular platform like Microsoft SQL Server, coupled with deep hooks into the ubiquitous Microsoft Office, Exchange and Sharepoint  ecosystems should be a winning strategy for Redmond.  Against this fascinating backdrop then, what to make of IBM's teaser campaign regarding Cognos 10?  Does this smell of traditional big blue confidence or perhaps a company that knows this is the time to leapfrog the competition and demonstrate its ability to successfully integrate the Cognos acquisition into it's suite of data management solutions without stifling the innovation Cognos has always been recognized for?? Heck, I'm still wondering what happened to Cognos 9….was it really that important to get into the double digit version number? Perhaps…
You be the judge.  I for one am a big fan of the Cognos solution set, having spent many years working with the tools, with a significant Cognos “footprint” in my home office lab, with a number of VMWare virtual machines humming away in the basement.  Having said that, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 has also earned a spot in the Cardoso tech sandbox.  If you are interested in signing up for the simulcast today at 2:00PM PDT (Correction: I had been under the impression this was going to happen earlier but it's 2:00PM PDT) you can do so here – I am very interested to see how TM1 has evolved in this latest release and anxiously seek the standardization and unification of what, though improved over the years, is still a fragmented solution set, in particular the Transformer  cube development environment.  I fully expect that to change and be front in center today.  Let's see what happens…
Have a great week and stay tuned for some follow up posts to the ME.Brand journey! Keep Making IT Work
Cheers – Pedro

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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