Tom Sweeney

It's a coming of age tale….

Posts Tagged ‘Cognos’

LOOK AHEAD 2010: Technology in the year 2010

Posted by sweens on January 14, 2010

Published on January 11th, 2010
Jim Donnelly

OBJ asks six industry leaders what’s in store for the future

What are high technology’s prospects in 2010? We recently sat down with a clutch of high-powered paragons of the scene to find out what’s in store for Ottawa, for their respective markets, and for their companies. Here’s what they had to say:

DEBBIE WEINSTEIN, partner at Labarge Weinstein

We had a very busy 2009 for mergers and acquisitions and some public company financing, and this will continue in 2010. There are some very good companies in Ottawa that have quietly grown into industry-leading enterprises. We’ll see some IPOs and M&As from those entities. Venture capital activity will be sporadic at best in Ottawa; we’ll see it peppered over traditional IT as well as clean tech and life sciences – these latter two areas are due for a breakthrough, and there are some companies in these sectors that are possibilities to really shine in 2010. We will also see Ottawa grow in the digital and multimedia sectors.

With the permanent lack of new private venture capital, startups will be hard-pressed to find appropriate capital, outside of a few. The Ontario government has a fund which may help on some matching, but the lead must come from private sources – angel or VC funds. That being said, the city will continue to see lots of small, fledgling startups employing fewer than 10 people with no outside money. But this will not propel the next big one, which is what this city needs.

The newer public companies have done well in 2009 and this will bode well for a couple of others that we may see go public in 2010, if the public market stays healthy. With the selloff of Nortel practically complete, while all acquirers downsized as part of the integration post-closing, I’m confident we’ll see growth in employment from those businesses. Our workforce is exceedingly strong and competitive, as demonstrated by the increasing presence of foreign-run operations in Ottawa. Canadian companies like RIM and Open Text continue to see employment growth in the capital.

So, I believe Ottawa is well-insulated for employment growth but not necessarily stemming from well-funded, VC-backed companies.

KEVIN FORD, CEO of Parliant Corp.

In the iPhone application market, we’re pretty much saturated with stand-alone games in the (App Store by Apple). So I think the store will begin to focus on helping people find things they need. There are also some very elaborate applications we’re seeing emerge that tie into shipping, billing, and inventory systems that run on an iPod Touch, which is a $180 device. And (these applications) allow employees to update all these systems at the touch of a button. That’s the kind of application the press will never hear about, but what we’re going to see a lot of in the next 12 months.

In terms of Parliant, we have more people pounding down our door to write iPhone apps than we can handle. We average three to five requests per day. So I guess those numbers say that if we wanted to focus just on that market we could, and also hire a lot of programmers to do it. But we’re not going to do that, because this conference automation software we have seems to have stirred up a real hornet’s nest. It looks like there’s a lot of low-lying fruit we can pick up with it, so we’re going to do that. Because it’s highly visible, and it feeds back to our strengths.

So in 2010, we’re going to be focusing on selling our Phone Valet products, because they keep the money rolling in, while also continuing to develop other revenue streams.

JOHN REID, president and CEO of CATAAlliance

Last year was very much a “suspension year,” so you’ve got some pent-up demand that we’re going to see. We’re seeing some restoration of confidence, and that will flow into Ottawa.

One area to watch will be information security and public safety; that’s a big market. And through the expansion of networks, there’s a bit of a data deluge going on – there’s a tremendous amount of data being created right now – so there are storage searching issues as well. So those are some of the drivers, along with the consumer element with smartbooks and iPhones, etc., that we’ll see in 2010.

The cloud is now taking hold, where you have all these applications that allow companies to utilize resources in a more efficient way and also to be more agile. Because of this you’re going to see a new generation of leaders and spokespeople for the industry, and that marks a transition, and I think a very positive one. One thing that’s also grabbing hold is the utilization of social networks and how those can help brand a company.

ROB LANE, CEO and co-founder of Overlay.tv

In (the online video application) space, we’re now moving from what I call early adoption into mass adoption. What I see is that in the retail space, the big retailers aren’t just thinking about whether they should do something with video anymore – they’re actively doing something in that space. They think video provides a better experience for their customers, and there’s some evidence that it does convert into somewhat higher sales. And I’m seeing that globally. I spent a couple of weeks in Europe before Christmas, and it very much reflected what I’m seeing here. What I’m seeing from people is that they’re saying, “Absolutely, we’re moving on this.”

Our challenge over the next year is difficult, because we’re into scale now – last year we delivered the product, which was video overlay for retail, and for now it’s all about scaling that into multiple channels, both indirect and direct. So it’s about market expansion and sales expansion. And our two biggest geographies are the U.S. and the U.K.; we opened an office in the U.K. last quarter.

It feels like the timing is right in the market with the product we’ve got, and that means we’ve got an opportunity. Twelve months from now, I’ll tell you if it all worked out.

MIKE DARCH, executive director of OCRI Global Marketing

I think (Ottawa) is in a very good position. Certainly, we weathered the financial crisis much better than a lot of other cities – we had to handle the double whammy of the Nortel bankruptcy and the financial crisis, and for a large part we came out of that very well. Our unemployment rate is still low, and our companies are diversifying in both thrust and markets. And we’re well-positioned to take advantage of that in 2010.

If we look at sectors, certainly the whole mobile world is going to move forward. You’ve got companies like DragonWave that are providing the infrastructure to make that happen, you have companies like Magmic and Fuel Industries that are doing well … so I think in that whole space, we’re well positioned. Certainly, clean tech is also well-positioned. In that space, we’ve got young companies that aren’t that well developed yet, but companies like Clearford and Plasco that are waiting for an opportunity. And certainly another area that’s on the rise is the virtual college and virtual education market, and we have a strong offering there as well.

Geographically, I think we’ll see the U.S. recover soon. Where will that be? Likely the wireless world, digital media, security, clean technology – all the areas where we in Ottawa have strength. So the rebuilding of that market will help us, but I think more importantly the emerging markets will be the strongest centres of growth.

Ottawa has always shown itself to launch a new set of companies during times like this. A lot of big, international companies are expanding here … and Ottawa has a history of using adversity to create opportunity.

ROB ASHE, general manager of analytics and performance management at IBM

The business analytics market we play in is estimated to be a $105-billion opportunity. It continues to be a top priority for CIOs, CFOs and CEOs who want to instantly parse mountains of diverse, disconnected pieces of data to move the business forward and improve performance. For the last four years, business analytics has remained a top priority of CIOs surveyed by industry analyst firm Gartner. In our last survey, 83 per cent of global CIOs polled identified business analytics as a top priority.

In 2010, customers will use our IBM Cognos software portfolio to monitor the effectiveness of stimulus spending across industries like health care, education, energy and social services, among other uses. Analytics are now being infused into the infrastructure of cities as municipalities work to improve the use of finite resources and aging infrastructures.

Businesses will continue to want to know where – and how – they are spending money so they can operate more efficiently. The advantages are not limited to corporations: governments are also looking to analyze statistics and make policy changes.

In 2010, the addition of the predictive element will become increasingly more important for customers as well. They want to be able to not only sense and respond to relevant business data, but also predict and take associated action on that data from any location or device.

http://www.obj.ca/Technology/2010-01-11/article-421592/LOOK-AHEAD-2010%3A-Technology-in-the-year-2010/1

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2009: A year of flux in Ottawa tech

Posted by sweens on December 18, 2009

Published on December 15th, 2009

Jim Donnelly
Ottawa Business Journal

Heady startup activity counteracted by liquidation of various headquarters

It’s been a year of soul-searching, self-help and growing foreign influence for Ottawa technology industry, say observers, but they add that doesn’t mean it’s been a bad 2009 – quite the opposite, in fact, depending on with whom you speak.

But what were the main trends we saw this year, according to those in the trenches? Most obvious, says Pat DiPietro of VG Partners, was the conspicuous absence of venture-backed, early-stage companies hatched in the nation’s capital this year. “The lack of capital has created a gap in the sequence of planting crops and then husbanding them along,” he says.

That’s led to a diversification amongst the Ottawa tech scene from traditional telecom and other technology infrastructure markets, into more lithe, media-style software and social media companies not requiring heavy injections of initial capital.

“(OCRI) likes to continue the mantra that we’ve got a lot of companies starting these days, but they’re all two- or three-person operations,” he adds. “And they’re being bootstrapped.”

OCRI chief executive Claude Haw agrees that 2009 was a year of diversification for local firms. He says this past year was a “coming-out” period for digital media in the city, adding that his organization is now tracking around 200 local companies in the space.

“And the other trend was the retooling that’s gone on in the region,” he says, adding that programs such as Lead to Win are indicative of a series of initiatives recently launched to assist budding entrepreneurs.

But 2009 also saw its fair share of formerly Ottawa-headquartered companies bought and sold by foreign interests. The Nortel saga – which by December had seen the company sell off chunks of its former businesses to companies such as Nokia-Siemens, Ericsson and most likely Ciena, as well – needs little explanation. In June, local success story Tundra Semiconductor was bought by Silicon Valley-based IDT, trumping a bid by rival Gennum Corp. In September, it was revealed that Philadelphia-based Versa Capital would take local defence products maker Allen-Vanguard private. And in late November, Corel Holdings announced that Vector Capital’s all-cash offer for all outstanding Corel Corp. shares had been successfully completed.

Mr. DiPietro says the influx of foreign ownership isn’t a good sign for Ottawa, since it means the dissolution of executive office training grounds for nascent management teams.

“One of the problems with foreign owneship is that the decisions aren’t made here, and so we’ve allowed ourselves to fall into a bad situation,” he says. “We’re in the situation where we’re becoming a branch plant again. We were somewhat out of that for a while (in the late 1990s and 2000s).

“It’s really disturbing, because the problem we’ve always had in Ottawa will be reinforced – we’ve never had lots of management teams here who could create world-class companies. And as those functions get centralized, our people won’t be trained to be great managers.”

Mr. Haw takes a somewhat different angle to the foreign ownership question. He says most consolidation has happened in mature sectors, where there’s always been a constant push to become bigger and more market-dominant. “It’s all about the big, broad market opportunities with these sectors,” he says. “And unfortunately Nortel didn’t make it as a consolidator – they became consolidated.

“But if you look at Alcatel compared to Newbridge Networks, that consolidation has worked in our favour. We’ve had more high-paying jobs locate here after that merger, than if Newbridge hadn’t consolidated.”

And as for the effect of the Nortel consolidation, Mr. Haw says locals shouldn’t think of it as a loss of one, large anchor tenant – indeed, he says it’s almost a misnomer to think of Nortel as an Ottawa company, since they haven’t been headquartered here for years. Instead, thanks to the increased presence of world-class firms such as Ericsson and Nokia, Mr. Haw says we should look at the situation as the gaining of three or four new anchor tenants.

“When a company like Nortel is acquired by Ericsson it brings stability,” he says. “Look at Cognos. They’re now bigger and better than they ever were (before being acquired by IBM).”

http://www.obj.ca/Technology/2009-12-15/article-281645/2009%3A-A-year-of-flux-in-Ottawa-tech/1

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Hyperion and Essbase in Ottawa

Posted by sweens on August 11, 2009

I (and many other firms in Ottawa) am currently on a search for candidates with Oracle Hyperion and Essbase experience.  This search has turned out to be fairly complex for myself but I would suggest that the Ottawa market is not flowing with this experience.  Perhaps my opinion here is biased – having worked at Cognos (now IBM) before – but Cognos arguably has the biggest chunk of the Business Intelligence (BI) market in Ottawa.

 Hyperion was acquired by Oracle in hopes of boosting their BI space worldwide.  From my brief stint in sales and having a father who is a sales manager for Cognos in Ottawa, I have seen much much much more Cognos BI tools sold into Ottawa then compared to Oracle.  This certainly does not mean that there are no Oracle BI tools in the Ottawa market, but I certainly have not seen a lot of companies who use these tools.

 This is the first search I have come across where a client has asked for resources with this tool set and so far it has been a slow process.  Is anyone else feeling this regional challenge?

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