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Cognos picks up U.K. consulting firm

The business intelligence software maker buys Softa, which specializes in corporate performance management--an area that analysts say is poised for significant growth.

Analytical software maker Cognos announced Tuesday its acquisition of U.K.-based Softa, a consulting company that specializes in developing strategies to improve business performance.

Ottawa, Canada-based Cognos said Softa will improve its corporate performance-management business and customer service in Europe. Softa, which is based in Oxford, offers consulting services to launch corporate performance management projects, or initiatives aimed at improving specific business processes.

Analysts say that corporate performance management is an area poised for significant growth and investment. Cognos is competing with other business intelligence companies, such as Hyperion and Business Objects, as they look for a foothold in the emerging market. IBM last week announced its own plans to offer a performance-tracking suite of products tailored to specific industries.

Financial terms of the Cognos-Softa deal were not disclosed. The acquisition closed during Cognos' fourth quarter, which ended Feb. 29.

Corporate, or business, performance management is the practice of tracking company data and measuring results against predefined goals, such as better customer service or bringing products to market faster. Information from corporate performance management systems is generally presented in a scorecard for company executives.

Corporate performance management relies on analytical, or so-called business intelligence, software for viewing historical data with specialized front-end tools.

In 2002, Cognos acquired Adaytum, which sells corporate performance management software, to complement its business intelligence tools.