Cognos Gets at Domino Data

New offering should be a boon to combined Cognos and Domino shops.

Last week, Cognos Inc. beefed up its support for IBM Corp.’s Lotus Notes/Domino messaging platform, announcing a new Cognos 8 Business Intelligence Data Modeler for Domino.

It’s a potentially important deliverable. Domino’s biggest selling point has traditionally been its programmer-friendliness: Its primary development environment, Domino Designer, uses a script-based language called LotusScript, which many Notes and Domino developers compare to Visual Basic, both for its simplicity and rapid application development capabilities.

There’s canned support for workflow management in the base Domino Designer Integrated Development Environment (IDE), and IBM offers a standalone Lotus Workflow product, a graphical design tool and workflow engine that sits on top of Domino and speeds the creation and deployment of apps that have sophisticated workflows.

A lot of organizations have taken advantage of Domino’s developer-friendliness to do just that—so there’s a healthy (if diminishing) pool of Domino-based apps. For Domino users who are also invested in Cognos’ BI stack, the new Business Intelligence Data Modeler for Domino could be a godsend of sorts.

It’s a wizard-based tool that lets users parse Domino data sources, tables, and columns and tag them with names that are meaningful to them—without changing the underlying applications. The BI Data Modeler also optimizes Domino data for fast access and generates a metadata model that’s compatible with the Cognos 8 BI suite. More importantly, for data integrators, the new Cognos tool makes Domino look like any other data source—which means Data from Domino can easily be joined with other (non-Domino) data sources.

“[M]ost enterprises struggle to include Lotus Notes data within their BI infrastructure. The Cognos 8 BI Data Modeler allows Notes users… to leverage all of the enterprise’s knowledge to gain a complete picture of business performance,” said Leah MacMillan, vice president of product marketing with Cognos, in a statement.

Cognos’ new tool could be an important deliverable—although it’s unlikely Domino-related sales will amount to much of a growth segment for Cognos. If market research data from several prominent industry watchers is any indication, Domino itself is on the wane: A report last summer from messaging consultancy The Radicati Group, for example, projected that Microsoft’s Exchange messaging and collaboration platform (with an estimated 126 million users) would far outstrip Domino (with an estimated 88 million users) by the end of 2005—to the tune of 38 million users. According to Radicati, Microsoft controlled nearly one-third of the overall messaging and collaboration market, while former champ IBM controlled less than one-quarter (24 percent). Between 2005 and 2009, Radicati researchers projected, Domino’s market share will drop by nearly half—falling to 68 million users, or just 13 percent of the market.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.

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