Cognos Strikes SOA-Focused Alliance With IBM

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IBM and Cognos on Tuesday unveiled a new partnership to help drive service-oriented architecture (SOA) technology, saying alliance will be a boon for systems integrators that work with both of their product stacks.

Plans call for IBM and Cognos, an Ottawa-based analytics software maker, to jointly develop and market vertical technology bundles to help customers address SOA projects. Their initial focus will be the insurance and public-sector industries, where the two companies’ already have joint customers, executives said. Cognos also plans to continue optimizing its products' performance on IBM's hardware and middleware stack, including IBM's WebSphere, Lotus, Tivoli and Rational product portfolios.

Cognos has worked closely with IBM for several years. The enhanced alliance moves Cognos into IBM's top partnership tier, the strategic alliance program.

"For Cognos, IBM has emerged as our most important partner in the enterprise," said Rupert Bonham-Carter, Cognos' senior director of the IBM partnership.

A turning point in IBM's work with Cognos came about two years ago, as Cognos built a following for its new ReportNet business intelligence and reporting software, said Gary Shiller, vice president of Sky Solutions, a Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.-based consultancy that partners with IBM and Cognos. ReportNet's Java-based, WebSphere-compatible platform caught IBM's eye, and IBM has since embraced Cognos more closely, he said.

Shiller added that he would like to see IBM and Cognos do more joint marketing around their combined offerings. "The IBM stack has been available for a while, but I don't think it's been very well-publicized until recently," he said.

Last year, Cognos released a special edition of ReportNet that embeds IBM's WebSphere application server and DB2 database. "There is a mutual interest to cross-pollinate," Bonham-Carter said. "We have a fair number of systems integrators that are both Cognos and IBM, and we'll look to expand those naturally occurring synergies."

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