IBM consumes Cognos

IBM Corp. is acquiring business intelligence software provider Cognos for about $5 billion, the companies announced this week.

IBM will fold Cognos software into its own Information Management Software division that offers applications for business intelligence and performance management. It will become a key component in the company's data management and integration service offering, called Information on Demand.

According to the IBM, the Cognos software supports a broad range of other applications that would make it suitable for this work.

IBM will appoint establish Cognos President and Chief Executive Officer Rob Ashe as head of the Information Management Software division.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services uses Cognos software to allow employees to access a data repository that integrates physician, hospital and drug information. The Homeland Security Department is using the software to help integrate data from its many agencies. New York City uses the software for data mining law enforcement information for use by detectives.

The Cognos sale is no surprise, at least to Helena Schwenk, an analyst at consultancy firm Ovum. After SAP acquired Business Objects last month, IBM was the only major enterprise software provider with out robust business intelligence tools, she wrote.

'Not surprisingly given this acquisition history IBM's [Information on Demand] vision has thus far concentrated on the company strengths in data management, with its DB2 database platform, data mining, master data, data integration and content management, but it always lacked a coherent message about what role core [business intelligence] capabilities play," Schwenk wrote. "Cognos' market leading front end BI tools for query, reporting and analysis (based on its own SOA platform) provide a natural complement to IBM's back-end information management and integration capabilities covering both structured and semi-structured data."

However, Schwenk noted that the company's performance management products may be lost in the shuffle. Last spring, during the Cognos Government Forum held in Washington, Ashe emphasized how agency chief financial officers could use Cognos' performance measurement tools.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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