BI Dominoes Continue To Fall...

by Boris Evelson.

Today Cognos announced its intention to acquire Applix, Inc for a cash tender offer of $17.87 per share, or approximately $339 million.

This acquisition is primarily about performance management, and I quote my colleague, Paul Hamerman: “This continues a trend of rapid consolidation in the business performance solutions space, following acquisitions of pure plays by larger BI and ERP vendors. Applix has been a stellar performer as a flexible platform for customers to rapidly implement applications for planning, budgeting, forecasting and business performance analytics. Although Cognos has been a leader in performance management solutions, the Applix technology gives it an opportunity to refresh its offerings and more aggressively sell to the midmarket.”

The BI side of this acquisition is all about TM1 OLAP technology. Cognos’s Powerplay OLAP product has been trailing Microsoft SQLServer Analysis Services and Hyperion (recently acquired by Oracle) Essbase in market adoption. With TM1, a memory-based OLAP cube, Cognos achieves several objectives:

  • Leapfrogs Microsoft and Oracle with one of the fastest read/write OLAP technologies on the market.
  • Provides an enterprise grade in-memory OLAP alternative to fast-growing and increasingly popular QlikTech, which is more of a departmental solution.
  • Provides additional midmarket entry points for Cognos

The future of the rest of the Applix BI products — reporting, querying, dashboards, and data integration — is quite murky. Cognos will face the same challenge as Oracle now does with the Hyperion acquisition: Establishing a strategy and a road map of overlapping product portfolio integration or sunsetting/retirement.