View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter - data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. Technology
September 1, 2005

Cognos calls Business Objects integration “puffery”

Business intelligence software maker Cognos Inc has taken exception to rival Business Objects SA's recent claim that it has already done much of legwork needed to integrate SRC Software Inc's performance management technology with its BusinessObjects XI platform.

By CBR Staff Writer

Business Objects closed the $100m acquisition of Portland-based SRC last week, signaling its official entry into the business performance management market.

Speaking with ComputerWire this week, Doug Barton, vice president of product marketing at Ottawa-based Cognos, said that it was premature for Business Objects to declare any leadership in the integration race Both Cognos and Hyperion Solutions Corp are also working to pull their respective BI and performance management tools into a single integrated platform.

Barton said that Business Objects’ integration claim is a puffery form of marketing – in marketing parlance an overstated or exaggerated claim. In an earlier interview with ComputerWire, Business Objects officials said that a significant level on integration had already been achieved between XI and SRC’s suite – the result of a close technology partnership that existed prior to the acquisition.

We’re confident that if you put us up technically against Cognos’ and Hyperion’s integration we’re at least as good if not better, Pat Morrissey, director of enterprise performance management at San Jose-based Business Objects said.

Barton thinks otherwise , saying that Business Objects is attempting to sweep the integration issue under the rug.

We think of integration at multiple levels: infrastructure [security, single sign-on and portal], metadata and user interface. [Business Objects] still has its work cut out in this respect, Barton said.

We should know since we’ve been on that same journey, Barton added, referring to Cognos’ extensive integration efforts over the past couple of years to integrate its own analysis and reporting tools as well as acquired planning and consolidation software from Adaytum Software Inc and Frango AB.

Content from our partners
Scan and deliver
GenAI cybersecurity: "A super-human analyst, with a brain the size of a planet."
Cloud, AI, and cyber security – highlights from DTX Manchester

We estimate that Business Objects is at least three cycle releases away from that level of integration, Barton said. He believes it will take its BI rival at least 18 months to two years to get to the stage where Cognos is prospecting customers today.

Barton points out that SRC’s software has been architected on Microsoft’s .NET platform, which he says runs contradictory to Business Objects commitment to Java development. That’ll be one big source of pain for them, he said.

Cognos itself has been under attack in the past for being plagued with multiple platforms. But Barton believes that the release Cognos’ service oriented architecture (SOA)-based Series 8 BI platform later this month, will give the company even more of jump over its BI rivals by providing common data access interfaces, administration and deployment across its PowerPlay, ReportNet and Metrics Manager products. Cognos’ Planning product will however not be included as part of the initial Series 8 release.

We’re now tackling the toughest and most valuable part of integration – that is making the financial planning and consolidation systems work as a native source to the Series 8 BI platform, Barton said.

From a performance management perspective, Series 8 promises to systematically link plans directly to reports and analysis or to link scorecard initiatives to line items in a detail plan. We already have the ability to run live reports against live plan data…we’re supporting that today in Series 7 and will strengthen that integration with the Series 8 launch, Barton said.

We can also work against live plans. Other vendors typically take a snapshot of a plan, remodel it and pull it into a reporting or analysis repository. We access it as a native data source.

Of course this points to tight metadata integration – i.e. the ability to include planning dimensions in ReportNet reports or PowerPlay analysis environments without having to separately model and map that source. Understanding plan dimensionality is something we’ve invested considerable amounts of time and energy in, Barton said.

Barton however acknowledges that more work needs to be done to bring Cognos’ Planning product more closely in synch with the Series 8 platform. We’re working on making core Series 8 infrastructure services available to the planning environment. He expects Cognos to deliver this capability next year. It’s another layer of capability that we’re working on in the labs right now.

Business Objects has just come off a major integration initiative – BusinessObjects XI – to integrate the Crystal Reports family with the BusinessObjects platform using a common engine.

Barton argues that this integration is not as tight as Business Objects makes out to be. For example, both Crystal and BusinessObjects still have their own semantic layers. Users will have to wait for release of BusinessObjects XII in the fourth quarter to see a single layer. Business Objects will be hard pressed to retain its focus through fresh integration challenges associated with SRC, he said.

Business Objects declined an opportunity from ComputerWire to counter Cognos’ specific claims. We stand by our previous statement that we are confident that if you put our integration against Cognos, we’re at least as good if not better, the company said in an emailed statement.

In a recent interview with CNET, Business Objects CEO Bernard Liautaud acknowledged that integration can be a potential banana skin for any company merger. He said the biggest challenges were to create a common culture, offer all customers a smooth migration path and to develop a product portfolio that folds together the strengths of both product sets. That’s what we’ve done [with Crystal], he said.

Websites in our network
Select and enter your corporate email address Tech Monitor's research, insight and analysis examines the frontiers of digital transformation to help tech leaders navigate the future. Our Changelog newsletter delivers our best work to your inbox every week.
  • CIO
  • CTO
  • CISO
  • CSO
  • CFO
  • CDO
  • CEO
  • Architect Founder
  • MD
  • Director
  • Manager
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.