Cognos (NASDAQ: COGN; TSE:CSN), one of the world's largest business intelligence
(BI) companies, today unveiled a comprehensive BI solution (including
interactive reporting, data analysis, and scorecarding) for the customer
relationship management (CRM) marketplace. The announcement was part of
an aggressive CRM market initiative showcased at Cognos's Enterprise 2000
conference to an audience of corporate executives and industry experts.
Cognos showcased its Cognos business intelligence for CRM solution as
providing the extensive interactive reporting, analysis and scorecarding
functionality critical to organizations looking to better attract and
is generally understood to refer to an integrated information system that
is used to plan, schedule and control the presales and post sales activities
in an organization. Although the dividing lines are not well-defined,
CRM has generally not been understood to include the marketing function.
The theory behind CRM initiatives is to improve a company's understanding
of their customer's needs and preferences. Theoretically, this will create
greater customer retention and easier customer acquisition.
K. Masingill, Cognos's Senior Vice president of marketing stated that
"an effective CRM system is no longer a 'nice-to-have' but a must-have
requirement for competing and winning in the Internet economy. Cognos
allows organizations to consolidate data, across inventory to sales and
customer information, to deliver the operational efficiencies and high-touch
customer relationships demanded by today's customers."
Cognos is a very strong competitor in the business intelligence space.
It is logical for them to enter the extremely hot CRM market. Their extensive
experience with tools that use multi-dimensional databases (i.e., Cognos
PowerPlay) should enable them to hit the ground running, giving companies
the ability to drill down and across product lines, and customers the
power to discover developing trends. They also have the advantage of being
able to sell into their huge installed base. Companies already using Cognos's
CRM solution include Send.com and United Guaranty.
order to further accelerate their entry into the CRM market, Cognos has
joined the Siebel (NASDAQ: SEBL) alliance program as a premier partner,
along with 92 other vendors (at current count), many of which are also
in the business intelligence space, who provide competencies not core
to Siebel's business. Siebel is currently the largest CRM vendor on the
operational side, but is partnering to provide some of the analytics.
"The basis for successful loyalty relationships is providing a full-service
approach. Siebel Systems enjoys a leading position in the customer-facing
eBusiness market and Cognos is excited to be a partner," said Patrick
O'Leary, Cognos vice president of strategic alliances. "CRM is a natural
complement for our enterprise business intelligence solutions. Cognos
and Siebel bridge the gap between business processes to ensure that customers,
partners and suppliers are making consistent, coordinated decisions to
grow the business and strengthen e-business relationships."
key to this alliance is for Siebel to provide the operational CRM (such
as sales force automation), and then work with other vendors to effectively
analyze the data. Some of Siebel's competitors, such as E.piphany, have
already made strides in this direction.
The combination of Cognos's analytical product suite and Siebel's experience
in what they refer to as "customer-facing eBusiness applications" should
prove to be a powerful tool for companies entering the customer relationship
management arena. It should be noted, however, that the product is brand
new, having only been announced on October 3, 2000 at the Cognos User
Conference. There will be a period of time while the kinks are worked
out of the General Availability (i.e., post-beta) release.
vendors which should be placed on a list for consideration include Hyperion,
Microsoft, MicroStrategy, and Oracle. Any companies considered should
have strong underlying analytical engines, since it is the quality of
the analysis that yields business value, not the mere capturing of the