Quick on the heels of Cognos' new release of Cognos 8, some people -- or some Cognos competitors, anyway -- are asking: What happened to corporate performance management?Performance management vendor Geac jumped on Cognos' new product debut. "Yesterday's much ballyhooed Cognos 8 announcement talked a lot about business intelligence (BI), but it did not substantively address the application area Cognos previously professed great interest in: performance management," says Geac vice president of marketing Brian Hartlen. "Cognos 8 promises 'the complete range of BI capabilities in a single product,' but what CFOs want and need is an integrated performance management application to more effectively manage and control core business processes."
And Cognos rival Hyperion was right there ready to take its own, similar shot at Cognos: "The BI stuff is OK, but what happened to Cognos' CPM vision?" asks Hyperion vice president of marketing Rich Clayton. "Their new product begs the question of when will they deliver on their promise to integrate their financial acquisitions? BI integrated with financial applications -- a.k.a. business performance management -- is the new high ground and it looks like they are still playing catch up."
For its part, Cognos isn't backing away from the criticism, as evidenced by commentary from Cognos' director of CPM market strategy, Meg Dussault.
"Cognos re-set the standard for corporate performance management/business performance management in June 2005 where we clearly established that customers need the combination of a technology platform, solutions, proven best-practices and a thriving partner ecosystem," Dussault says.
Cognos 8 is the latest advancement of that very platform, the vendor says.
Could it be that the very concept of "CPM" isn't selling as well as some of the vendors in that area would like? Performance management is still something we at Business Intelligence Pipeline hear discussed a lot more by vendors than by their customers. In aggregate, BI practitioners now point to ease of use as their single biggest deployment challenge -- even bigger of a problem than data quality. Cognos is focusing on ease of use now. And for my money, that's exactly the focus a lot of customers -- especially the mid-market companies -- are looking for.