The 5 Billion Dollar Dashboard

How much would you pay for a dashboard?

Dashboard Spy readers have heard me saying that Dashboards will become the ubiquitous face of Business Intelligence. Now, I’m more sure than ever.

IBM announced today a $5 billion bid for Cognos, the enterprise reporting company, whose executive dashboards I’ve featured on this blog. Of course, Cognos is not just dashboards, it’s an entire robust reporting platform, but the idea of the dashboard as front end is firmly entrenched in the company. IBM’s interest certainly validates the idea of the dashboard as an information visualization paradigm and user interface design pattern.

IBM is not the only one who loves Cognos and its dashboards. It has been reported today that HP and Oracle are possible rival bidders for Cognos. The final price may be a lot more than you think. Don’t forget that when SAP acquired Business Objects, it paid $6.8 billion. Wow – what a time to be in BI.

The fit between Cognos and IBM is strong. The IBM WebSphere Portal server and Cognos reporting platform has been solid for a long time. Take a look at this graphic of an IBM Portal Server Dashboard with Cognos portlets.

IBM Websphere Cognos Portlets

Here is a clip or two of today’s news:

HP and Oracle cited as possible rival bidders for Cognos, chances pegged at 30%
While he says IBM’s US$58 per share offer for Cognos Inc. (CSN/TSX, COGN/NASD) is within the US$53 to US$60 range projected when SAP AG acquired Business Objects SA for US$6.8-billion, Canaccord Adam analyst Peter Misek still thinks there is a 30% chance of another bidder emerging for the Ottawa-based software maker.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2008, but another offer could surface given the “strategic value of Cognos’ business intelligence suite and the scarcity of large pure plays in the market,” Mr. Misek said in a note to clients.
He suggested that Hewlett-Packard Co. and Oracle Corp. are the most likely candidates to be competing bidders.

and this from business week:

One of the hottest segments of the tech industry, business intelligence software, is less and less a separate category of products as one major player after another gets scooped up by larger companies. The latest move was IBM’s (IBM) announcement on Nov. 12 that it will buy Cognos (COGN) of Ottawa, Canada, for $5 billion. This followed SAP’s (SAP) deal to buy Business Objects (BOBJ) last month for $7 billion, and Oracle’s (ORCL) acquisition of Hyperion Solutions for $3.3 billion in April.

The software industry, once populated by hundreds of so-called best-of-breed companies, is now dominated by a handful of giants, including Microsoft (MSFT), IBM, SAP, and Oracle, with vast portfolios of products. It’s very difficult for midsize companies to compete against the giants because large corporations prefer to buy their technology from a few strategic suppliers rather than a lot of smaller companies. Two other independents, BEA Systems (BEAS) and Sybase (SY), are seen as likely takeover targets. “In some sectors it’s really hard to find the independent, best-of-breed companies anymore, says analyst Paul Hamerman of market researcher Forrester Research (FORR). “Longer term, the industry will regenerate itself, and new ideas will incubate,”.

Tags: IBM Takeover of Cognos, IBM Cognos, Cognos sale

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