Continuing the trend of rapid consolidation in the business performance solutions (BPS) space, Cognos announced a definitive agreement to acquire Applix on Sept. 5. Cognos is positioning the acquisition as an extension of its financial performance management capability. The combination is an interesting contrast of styles:

  • Applix is a very flexible environment for modeling financial and operational plans and forecasts, as well as analyzing results. While the company has accelerated its growth as a result of selling applications on top of its TM1 analytics platform, pre-built functionality has been relatively lean. The philosophy and expectation is that customers will run with the tool to extend these solutions and develop their own applications.
  • Cognos, in contrast, sells more pre-built functionality. In addition to providing more mature BPS applications for planning, financial consolidations and scorecarding, it makes numerous solution blueprints available to its customers in a wide variety of functional and vertical areas.

These contrasting styles are complementary. Cognos can use the Applix technology as a platform for rapidly developing and expanding its BPS solution portfolio. Also, Applix gives Cognos a better play in the midmarket, with a more compact solution footprint and a lower price point. 

More importantly, Cognos picks up a powerful technology platform to refresh its core financial performance applications. With its acquisitions of Adaytum in 2004 and Frango in 2005, Cognos offers mature planning and consolidations functionality, but technical baggage and architectural dissimilarities remain. Applix is a strategic acquisition for Cognos innovate and move forward, as the competition increases.

Paul Hamerman

Vice President, Business Process & Applications

Coming soon! The Forrester Wave: Business Performance Solutions, Q4, 2007