Cognos and Microsoft have teamed up to drive data warehousing into small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) using a bundle of server and business intelligence tools to be sold by their Vars.
But only a handful of Vars will be eligible for the scheme.
"Our initial thought is that there will be between five and ten partners between us," said Mark Dodds, UK data warehousing manager at Microsoft. "If we go broader we won't be able to fully support their delivery of the product."
The two software vendors aim to sell a CD-ROM bundling 10-user licences of Microsoft's NT Server and SQL Server with Cognos' Impromptu and Powerplay business intelligence tools and one portion of Cognos' 24-part business management tutorial which deals with sales analysis.
Only Vars competent in NT and SQL Server, Cognos' tools and data warehousing will be considered as eligible partners, said Dodds.
"I will not supply these boxes to people who are not certified professionals for our tools," said Roger Gilheany, Cognos business development director.
Cognos and Microsoft will run 'Masterclass' training sessions for Vars this summer.
For those that do qualify, there will be a six-month "price advantage", said Gilheany. He said the bundles would be supplied to VARs at about ?6,000 "which leaves plenty of margin for them to add value, such as implementation and services," he added.
The whole notion of data warehouses, databases of related business information, has come in for criticism recently after a series of delayed, over -budget projects. Microsoft and Cognos aim to take out the risk and reduce the price of implementing a data warehouse.
Using Cognos 'analyse then query' approach to data warehousing, customers can interrogate the data held within their core accounting packages using Cognos' tools before creating data warehouses using Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft NT.
"This will allow those who haven't got vast IT budgets the chance to benefit from proven decision support solutions," said Gilheany. "Having shown data warehousing can provide satisfactory return on investment for sales analysis, the same techniques then can be applied to marketing, finance, manufacturing and so on."
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