Cognos joins AppExchange but isn't going SaaS

BI vendor Cognos joined Salesforce.com's AppExchange marketplace this week, but that doesn't mean it's embracing SaaS, oh no. Nor does its acquisition yesterday of dashboard vendor Celequest.
Written by Phil Wainewright, Contributor

BI vendor Cognos has followed in the footsteps of its rival BusinessObjects in joining Salesforce.com's AppExchange marketplace this week, but that doesn't mean it's embracing SaaS, oh no. UK-based title IT Week reports:

"Graham Walter, vice president of Cognos in the UK, Middle East and South Africa, ... said that although Cognos had a SaaS programme in place, it would not be offering Cognos apps as a fully hosted offering through AppExchange. He argued that offering hosted BI functionality alongside Salesforce.com would not resolve the problem of ensuring firms' standardised BI systems can report on data held in both hosted and proprietary apps."

It's been a busy week for Cognos, which yesterday announced it has bought business activity monitoring vendor Celequest. There's a SaaS spin on that story too, but it's more of a SoSaaS story than the real article.

Ken Rudin, CEO of on-demand business intelligence pureplay LucidERA (a rival of Cognos and BusinessObjects) sent me an email that spells out why the Cognos/Celequest deal won't rock any boats in the SaaS market (my emphasis added):

"My main comments are:

  • "Celequest was not built to be a SaaS solution. It was built for on-premise use. The SaaS offering was a last-minute attempt to reposition the company. It has been shown many times that taking traditional on-premise software, hosting it, and then calling it On Demand is like putting wings on a car and calling it an airplane. Just hosting a traditional solution doesn't make it any easier to deploy, easier to manage, or easier to use. I experienced this first-hand when I managed the Siebel CRM On Demand division at Siebel. We ended up having to rewrite most of the application to make it work as an on-demand solution.
  • "The SaaS attempt by Celequest was half-hearted at best, because they also continued to offer their solution as an on-premise appliance, and as a managed service where the appliance was still in the customer's data center, but managed remotely by Celequest.
  • "Celequest professional services were required for every deployment, meaning the product was not simple to set up. In my mind, this violates one of the three key pillars of a successful on-demand service (the other two are that the service also has to be simple to use and simple to buy.)

"I wish them luck. But, this acquisition isn't going to make Cognos any simpler to set up, simpler to use, or simpler to buy. Celequest will certainly help Cognos in the Business Activity Monitoring market, but it won't help them in the SaaS market at all."

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