cbergen wrote:Does anyone know anything about IBM Cognos Express and how similar it is to TM1. I heard that its TM1 repackaged can anyone confirm that?
cbergen wrote:Does anyone know anything about IBM Cognos Express and how similar it is to TM1.
IBM yesterday showed it's serious about competing in the mid market business intelligence space with the launch of Cognos Express, a collection of analytics, reporting, and budgeting tools for groups of 100 users or less. With its in-memory OLAP capability, streamlined implementation, and Web- and Excel-based interfaces, the $12,500 offering can be used without much help from IT staffs, which will put it up against the likes of in-memory OLAP leader QlikTech.
Before designing the product, IBM consulted with CIOs and CEOs of 2,500 medium size organizations (which IBM defines as having from 100 to 999 employees), and asked them what they looked for in a BI tool, and three things kept bubbling to the surface, Plummer explains.
This feedback led IBM to dust off the older TM1 in-memory OLAP database that Cognos obtained with its acquisition of Applix. On top of this core, IBM built the three Cognos Express modules: Reporter, Xcelerator, and Advisor. The modules can be used together or purchased separately for $12,500 each (an unlimited license for up to 100 users) or financed for $25 per user and up.
Cognos Express Reporter is a Web-based ad hoc query and reporting tool that can be used against an organization's existing relational or flat-file data store, or against the Cognos Express suite's underlying OLAP data store. Reporter comes with canned reports and dashboards--delivered in the user's choice of Web browser, PDF, Excel, e-mail, or Web portal formats--that are easy enough for novices to learn quickly, IBM says.
Cognos Express Xcelerator effectively turns a user's Excel spreadsheet into an interface for running advanced OLAP queries. The software lets users analyze their data and perform "what if" modeling from the comfort of Excel, which is probably what they were previously using for analyzing their numbers. There is also a Web-based interface for Xcelerator.
Cognos Express Advisor is the most advanced component of the suite, and delivers the most powerful interface to the underlying TM1 OLAP server. This software lets users slice and dice and drill down into their data. It also delivers more advanced data "visualizations" than the other two modules.
I'm glad to see that IBM Cognos is making the most of good assets. Rather than introducing a light version of Cognos enterprise technologies to meet the needs of midsize companies, IBM yesterday bowed an IBM Cognos Express offering that is really one part Cognos and two parts Applix TM1.
I have not heard much about Applix since it was acquired by Cognos way back in 2007. Apparently it's going strong as a stand-alone product, but it should have been sharing in all the attention QlikView and Spotfire have been getting these past two years. The speed and ease of in-memory-based "what-if" analysis has helped make QlikView one of the fastest-growing products in BI for the past few years.
Like SAP's BusinessObjects Edge series for the midmarket, IBM Cognos Express is targeted at companies with 100 to 1,000 employees, but I'm a bit mystified as to why IBM is using a named-user licensing approach. Deployments of the IBM Cognos Express Reporter (reporting), Advisor (analysis) and Xcelerator (planning, budgeting and forecasting) modules start at $12,500 each for five named users. The standard edition of SAP BusinessObjects Edge starts at $19,000 for five concurrent seats, which means any five users can tap into the functionality at any given time. Edge tops out at 100 concurrent seats, which could easily support as many as 1,000 users. In contrast, IBM Cognos Express tops out at 100 named seats, so IBM is effectively saying that only 10 percent of the workforce at a 1,000-employee company will be a BI user. That's not very flexible, nor is it in the spirit of what most people say BI needs to become: a widely used tool for everyday decision makers.
Whether it's $19,000 or $12,500, these companies are still fighting a perceived five-figure gap between what companies can get from SAP or IBM and what they can get "built in for free" when the organization uses the combination of Microsoft Office, SQL Server and SharePoint. As I wrote in this story on IBM Cognos Express, the other differentiator IBM is counting on versus Microsoft (in addition to in-memory analysis) is the performance management-oriented planning, budgeting and forecasting functionality of Xcelerator. But to play Devil's advocate for a moment, would Microsoft have pulled the plug on Microsoft PerformancePoint if it really sensed strong demand for performance management functionality?
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