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A Long-Term View on the Cognos/Celequest Deal

Everyone agrees that Cognos' purchase of Celequest, announced yesterday, will broaden the BI vendor's footprint. Celequest gives Cognos a real-time, operational BI/performance management play it lacked. That will bring Cognos into settings in which insight is only of value if it's immediate. But the true value of the deal will hinge on how transferable and how integrated Celequest's real-time technology and hybrid appliance/SaaS model will be with the Cognos 8 BI platform.
Everyone agrees that Cognos' purchase of Celequest, announced yesterday, will broaden the BI vendor's footprint. But the true value of the deal will hinge on how transferable and how integrated Celequest's real-time technology and appliance/SaaS model will be with the Cognos 8 BI platform.

Yes, Celequest gives Cognos a real-time, operational BI/performance management play it lacked, and that's important (see trend six in "Seven Trends for 2007.") Celequest's Lava appliance is designed to monitor transactional systems (as well as data warehouses) and instantly display key metrics within user-customizable dashboards. That will bring Cognos into operational settings -- in financial services, risk management, manufacturing and supply chains -- in which insight is only of value if it's immediate, delivered through real-time dashboards and alerts.Celequest's appliance/SaaS delivery options will also bring Cognos into smaller companies and departmental deployments where conventional software isn't practical or affordable. The Lava appliance can be installed and managed by customers, but it can also be installed at the customer site and managed remotely by Celequest or both hosted and managed by Celequest -- with rental rather than purchase pricing.

The question I have is how well and how widely can Cognos exploit what Celequest has to offer? It wasn't too long ago that Celequest put the emphasis on business activity monitoring (BAM), as explained in our January 2006 review. What was then called the "Activity Server" was rebranded as Lava. Celequest placed the new emphasis on BI and SaaS, but it's not the kind of SaaS I'm used to writing about. For one thing, Celequest's hardware is always present, whether it's in the customer's data center or hosted offsite.

Diaz Nesamoney, Celequest's CEO, insists the hosted options are true SaaS. "Salesforce.com also has servers running at a hosting center," he told me yesterday, adding "I'd say it's an identical model, and in fact we use the same hosting center as Salesforce and our service is running on Salesforce AppXchange."

But will Celequest's technology and hybrid appliance/SaaS approach be transferable? "This gives us an opportunity to test, as this will be the first SaaS-oriented solution that Cognos has hosted," responded Leah MacMillan, Cognos vice president of product marketing. "It's a little early for us to tell [how Cognos technology might be delivered on the same SaaS platform]. We're looking at all sorts of integration points and opportunities, but it's too soon to comment."

Let's just say I'm anxious to see the roadmap.Everyone agrees that Cognos' purchase of Celequest, announced yesterday, will broaden the BI vendor's footprint. Celequest gives Cognos a real-time, operational BI/performance management play it lacked. That will bring Cognos into settings in which insight is only of value if it's immediate. But the true value of the deal will hinge on how transferable and how integrated Celequest's real-time technology and hybrid appliance/SaaS model will be with the Cognos 8 BI platform.