Business intelligence vendors buck downward slide

A handful of software vendors at the top of the business intelligence (BI) market are showing that there are more ways than down.

Bucking the industry-wide negative trends, query, reporting and analysis tools vendor Cognos reported a robust 11% increase in revenues to $120.1 million for its first quarter of 2003. Ottawa-based Cognos also posted an impressive $9.9 million net profit, compared to a net loss of $11.1 million in the same period of 2001.

Unlike many software rivals which have fallen back on services to sustain revenue levels, Cognos' sales were driving by strong licence sales, which rose 16% to $48 million. Its most buoyant growth was at the low-end of the market where it completed 337 contracts of more than $50,000 – a surprising turnaround from 18 months ago when all the talk among BI tools vendors was of multi-million dollar corporate-wide deals.

The figures indicate that there has been pent up demand among existing Cognos customers – as well as enthusiasm among prospects – for a set of tightly-integrated BI tools that interact consistently with underlying data. The long-awaited integrated Cognos suite, EP Series, was released in January 2002.

After a weak 2001, the company is now back on par with its main rival Business Objects. Revenues rose 9% at Business Objects in the quarter to 31 March.

Robust licence sales were also a positive factor at another Canadian BI company, data management software specialist DataMirror. An overall rise in revenues of 4% to $14.1 million was underpinned by licence sales growth of 16% quarter-on-quarter.

Elsewhere, other results from BI vendors painted a less-than-rosy picture. DataMirror competitor Informatica reported revenues down 12% in its latest financial quarter, while sales at analysis tools company MicroStrategy were off by 28%.

Business intelligence software
Company   Description   Period   Period end   Revenue ($m)   Rev change   Net Inc ($m)   Prev net Inc ($M)  
Business Objects SA Business intelligence s/w 1Q02 31-Mar 107.5 9% 11 10.5
Cognos Inc Business intelligence s/w 1Q03 31-May 120.1 11% 9.9 -11.1
DataMirror Corp Data management s/w 1Q03 30-Apr 14.1 4% -0.9 -2.0
Informatica Corp Data mgmt/analytics s/w 1Q02 31-Mar 48.5 -12% -0.3 -1.9
Microstrategy Inc Business intelligence s/w 1Q02 31-Mar 35.7 -28% 3 -20.6

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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