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August 18, 2005

WhiteCross/Kognito: an odd couple?

After dabbling in hardware, ASP and CRM analytics, UK-based WhiteCross Systems Ltd seems to have given up the ghost as an independent player following a merger that few in the industry could have predicted. The company has announced its merger with Kognito, a UK-based business intelligence and data migration consultancy services firm.

By CBR Staff Writer

WhiteCross Systems is to merge with Kognito.

The combined entity will develop high performance data analysis solutions built on WhiteCross’ industrial strength WX2 analytics platform and augmented by Kognito’s consultancy services.

The company says it will target the high-end massively parallel data warehouse and BI application migration and consolidation applications and services market initially the UK. The company also intends to offer its solutions as managed services.

Although the move is being called a best of breed merger, the new company will retain the Kognito name, suggesting it will play the upper hand in the new business plan. The company is also financially backed by REDAC (itself funded by Alchemy Partners) and ex-Oracle and Veritas stalwart Geoff Squire.

Roger Llewellyn, managing director of the new Kognito, hopes to take away share from US incumbents that dominate the high performance business intelligence market.

Combining our [consultancy] skills with the exceptionally high performance WhiteCross data warehouse product puts us right at the forefront of the industry, he said. He expects the company to launch new combined data analysis and data migration solutions shortly.

While the two companies form a curious mix, both share similar vertical focus on the telecommunications sector. WhiteCross’ proprietary high performance analytic database platform has carved out a strong niche for itself in the UK telco sector.

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Sadly it has been unable to break out of that niche into broader application areas. Kognito also has strengths in insurance, retail and financial services. Select customers include BT, NTL and Norwich Union.

The merger marks the end of the road for WhiteCross, a vendor that started out by selling its own proprietary (and quite clever) hardware platform for complex high-end data analytics. The company then dumped its hardware business and shifted to a hosted ASP model aiming itself squarely at CRM analytics.

Folding into Kognito means the company is ready to open itself, and its once proprietary system, up to broader platform implementations.

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