Cognos Buys Dashboard Specialist Celequest

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Celequest's product options give Cognos much-needed flexibility as companies look to roll out business intelligence tools to more workers, while avoiding the high-costs of per user software licenses, at least one analyst said. In addition, Celequest, based in Redwood City, Calif., adds event-based business intelligence, which means the company's software can deliver real-time information from transactional systems, not only data warehouses.

Cognos sees the acquisition as adding technology that "complements" its namesake business intelligence suite. The company also acknowledges that Celequest's on-demand option and all-in-one appliance means Cognos could find it easier to sell to small and medium-sized companies and departments of large corporations. "It's nice to have the flexibility," Leah MacMillan, vice president of product marketing, said.

Dan Everett, analyst for Ventana Research, said Celequest has been known to win business on the strength of its dashboard-building tools, which are easier to use than those of many BI vendors. "Cognos had tools for building dashboards, but they certainly weren't as easy to use for the end user as the tools from Celequest," Everett said.

The acquisition, which was completed Jan. 16, also comes at a time when companies are looking for alternative pricing to per user licensing, which can get very expensive if a corporation decides to roll out BI software across its operations, and not just to upper executives and business analysts. "They want to deploy BI to more users, but they want to do it in a more cost effective way," Everett said.

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Celequest's SaaS and appliance options could fit that need. For a set price, the company's LAVA appliance provides data integration, analytics, end-user dashboards and collaboration tools. Celequest's on-demand model, on the other hand, gives customers the option of adding users gradually, while not having to worry about maintenance.

Cognos had already dipped its toe in the SaaS market, announcing this week that it would offer its BI tools to customers of, an on-demand vendor that provides customer-data management over the Web. Celequest, however, provides the Canadian company with its first SaaS platform.

Celequest and Cognos software is interoperable "out of the box," MacMillan said. Cognos plans to unveil a roadmap for further integration in a few months.