The Way Business Is Moving published by
Issue Date: February 2006

Cognos in South Africa

1 February 2006

1. What is Cognos's strategy and how is the company driving this forward?
Cognos internationally has achieved its FY05 goals: a continued effort to drive the business intelligence (BI) momentum; maximise enterprise planning synergy and growth; and focus on partnerships and create corporate performance management (CPM) relationships.
The success of these goals were paramount as they underpin the success of the company's FY06 goals, namely to dominate the BI arena as the preferred vendor in the market; to be a leading vendor in the 'office of finance' space; to elevate relationships with customers and partners; develop market penetration of our CPM solutions; and grow the Cognos brand.
Cognos has identified the strategic value of solutions that deliver CPM and a continued effort to strengthen us in this market is viewed through our concentrated focus on the office of finance. Finance plays a key role in measuring a company's performance and budgets are instrumental in driving and executing the plan or strategy. This has propelled our continued efforts to meet the needs of the central area of finance, especially since Cognos Controller, a consolidation and financial reporting solution that now forms part of our product offering.
2. What is your focus in the local market?
We are aligning the local strategy with the international vision for the company. From a global perspective, we are fulfilling our vision of dominating the BI market and developing our CPM solutions. This is reinforced by our combined position in Gartner's latest Magic Quadrant for CPM Suites and the Enterprise Business Intelligence quadrant. The research places Cognos in the leaders' quadrant in both CPM and Enterprise Business Intelligence Suites. In addition, according to the latest worldwide Gartner Dataquest report on BI, Cognos achieved the highest year-over-year BI revenue growth among traditional standalone BI competitors; the only vendor in this category to experience both revenue and market share growth in the same year.
Locally, we are continuously developing strategic partnerships with partners that deliver niche expertise and experience, especially in the office of finance sector.
We are well positioned to emerge as the leading BI vendor with the introduction of Cognos 8 BI, the industry's first solution that delivers complete BI capabilities in a single product, on a single Web Services-based architecture. The solution creates a solid foundation for CPM. This places us ahead of our competitors and is instrumental in allowing us to dominate the BI space, grow market share and further develop our CPM market.
3. Can you explain the adoption and roll out of Cognos 8 BI internationally and how does this compare locally?
The business case for an enterprise wide BI, and scorecarding solution has allowed us - with the release of Cognos 8 BI - to meet the needs of many frustrated companies that often employ multiple BI technologies. Beta versions of the software have already been implemented at a number of international sites. Woolworths in South Africa proved to be an extremely successful pilot site locally - one of the first roll-outs of Cognos 8 BI into a production environment. Implementation was initially done in June 2005, with the solution going live in September. Oliver Oursin, Cognos Associate VP - who was in South Africa recently for the Cognos 8 BI road show - played a key role in assisting Woolworths and with other international deployments. According to Oursin, South Africa is not far behind international trends, especially the European market. With many other information communication technology (ICT) developments, the South African market usually lags behind and waits for the technology to become more widely adopted before embarking on a purchase decision. Not so with BI. Oursin reckons the local market is extremely responsive to CPM and BI technologies with many enterprises employing similar technologies that their European counterparts benefit from.
4. What are Cognos' activities in the African continent? Is this still an emerging market for Cognos?
Cognos has traditionally focused on the South African market yet a recent increase of interest in BI and CPM solutions in sub-Saharan Africa has compelled Cognos SA to look toward this market. We have recently appointed a partner in Nigeria and Ghana, and are active in Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and Mauritius. We have also seen a fair amount of interest in Kenya and are in the process of establishing partnerships in these regions.
5. Where to from here for Cognos SA?
The road forward is simple. Locally, Cognos is focusing on migrating its existing customers to the new Cognos 8 BI platform and gaining market share through new business. Built on the same architecture as the popular ReportNet, clients that have experienced the flexible capabilities of its forerunner will not need much convincing to migrate. Locally we are well prepared for the shift to the new platform. Cognos 8 BI also creates a stable, enterprise-wide foundation that is necessary for CPM, allowing us to align and execute the international plans which include developing this market.
Through the competitive advantage that Cognos 8 BI delivers, we plan to reinforce and strengthen the Cognos brand in the local market place and, together with the integrated planning and consolidation technologies, bring the most comprehensive BI and CPM solutions to the South African market, delivering the co-ordinated, consistent information that leads to a more profitable future for both local companies and Cognos.
David McWilliam, Cognos SA MD
David McWilliam, Cognos SA MD
For further information contact David McWilliam, managing director, Cognos SA, 011 603 5700.

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