Cognos Continues EU Push
Is Cognos positioning itself to better tackle Business Objects on its own turf?
Over the past three years, Cognos Inc. has made several acquisitions to expand the breadth and depth of its corporate performance management (CPM) suite.
More recently, the Canadian business intelligence giant acquired Scandinavian financial-reporting specialist Frango several months ago. Also last year, Cognos purchased U.K.-based Softa Group Ltd., a performance management software company.
This month, Cognos continued the trend, announcing it had snapped up Madrid-based Optima Analytical Solutions, a subsidiary of Sage Finance SA, in an acquisition that was actually finalized last December.
Cognos' apparent big push into Europe isn’t surprising: One of Cognos’ biggest competitors, Business Objects SA, is based in Paris, and boasts a sizeable presence in the EU. With this in mind, Cognos’ most prominent Old World acquisitions—Frango and Optima—have each brought formidable European sales and distribution channels to the table. Frango supports an established and sizeable European installed base of more than 1,300 customers in 16 European and Asian countries. Optima's clients include ten of Spain’s 15 largest companies, giving Cognos a comfortable perch in the Spanish market.
"Optima is an established, well-respected financial performance management solutions provider with a strong track record in the Spanish market,” said Ad Voogt, Cognos’ senior vice-president of European operations, in a statement. “As Cognos Espana, it will enhance Cognos' ability to address the requirements of the Spanish market as well as provide support for our global customers.”
More to the point, notes Mike Schiff, a senior analyst with consultancy Current Analysis Inc., the EU currently accounts for almost one-third of Cognos’ CPM revenues. In this respect, Schiff suggests, Cognos recent acquisitions help it to better respond to the needs of European customers. Optima was also something of a no-brainer acquisition for Cognos, Schiff says. It’s a distribution and implementation partner of Frango, after all. The acquisition of Optima solidifies Cognos’ distribution channel in Spain.
Now that the Optima takeover is complete, Schiff suggests, Cognos needs to think about integrating the fruits of its disparate applications. “This is the fourth CPM-related acquisition that Cognos has made in 2004. Cognos must now make sure that it consolidates all of these acquisitions into a unified focus."
Late last year, Cognos did just that, announcing a new product (Cognos Controller) based on Frango’s technology. “We’ve been hard at work to ensure that there are new innovations, that we’ll support up to 40 additional languages, as well as enhancing the way our business intelligence [stack] can be used against that Cognos Controller database, and other important things like UI rebranding to make it a familiar interface for users,” said Doug Barton, vice-president of Enterprise Planning product marketing with Cognos, last year.
Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.