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Speedware, Cognos, working together

Speedware issued a press release yesterday that took the wraps off a long-term project: a working relationship with its arch-rival Cognos. Talk to the companies' officials and you won't find much of that kind of language, but the arch-stuff is still a strong memory for the 3000 community. You used a 4GL back in the 1990s, or especially the 1980s. And it was one of these two, more than likely; at one point Cognos had 7,000 companies using PowerHouse.

Cognosinspeedware Speedware and Cognos have been meeting since late summer to firm up the new relationship, one which deploys Speedware's migration services to help PowerHouse customers move to PowerHouse on a platform other than the HP 3000.

We poked our heads up to mention this briefly back in September, when Cognos showed up as an resource in Speedware's booth at the HP Technology Forum. Speedware has a lot to say about this alliance, so far, including an article we mailed out in our November print issue of the NewsWire. Above are Speedware's Jennifer Fisher and Chris Koppe giving some love to Cognos's Charlie Maloney at the Houston-based show this year.

What did Speedware's president have to say to us about this, months before yesterday's release made the matter more public? It seems to be a matter of adjusting how you look at the companies which once made the bulk of their business off of 4GLs.

How did the arrangement with Cognos get started?

   Speedware’s no longer a competitor with Cognos anymore; neither company sells 4GLs anymore except as upgrade licenses. But that’s still a very good part of our business.

    Today Speedware is not in the business of converting a PowerHouse shop to a Speedware one. We’re far more concerned about providing a solution to an HP customer to help him continue with his computing environment.

   We have complementary strategies. By virtue of us developing the expertise and skills we have in the migration space, we are capable of preserving those PowerHouse licenses on open systems.

Part of your projects with PowerHouse customers must be to help them get converted to the latest releases of PowerHouse. Does Cognos’ services division support you in that, too?

    They’re very responsive and very timely in their support. All in all, something that closes the loop very well in the partnership.

   It was a very monumental meeting with Cognos, really. We had to sit there and reflect on it: for the first time ever in the history of our companies, there was a team of Speedware people sitting in a Cognos boardroom, talking about how we can do more things together.

Since migrations represent some of the biggest opportunities for 3000 business, what of the Cognos professional services group? Don’t they want to be the ones to direct a migration for a Cognos customer?

   It’s not in the scope of what they want to be doing. That Cognos professional services group is primarily focused around education and solutions architecting.

How large a share does the migration services business represent to Speedware’s overall revenues? More than half?

   It’s about 55 percent of our business today. That’s where our focus is. We’re in the migration and modernization business.

Does Cognos represent a few big projects in your migration business, or more?

   In the past it hasn’t been as significant as what it’s developing into now. PowerHouse is the biggest 4GL installed base in this community. And so we expect there’s a significant amount of PowerHouse code to be migrated there. Sixty percent of the opportunities we see have some PowerHouse in them. The biggest combination we see is a COBOL-PowerHouse shop.

What about Speedweb and Autobahn? Do you have to shift gears when dealing with PowerHouse customers, those working to get more integrated with the Web; do you want to say that Speedweb could perform in place of PowerHouse Web?

    Autobahn was never designed to be a Web enablement product of Speedware code. We wound up making Speedweb because Autobahn could not easily Web-enable existing Speedware code.

    In our own product complexion, we didn’t feel like we had a solid Web enablement offering the way PowerHouse had one for theirs. PowerHouse was there ahead of us for a [Web] solution to existing 4GL code.