Kognitio merges with WhiteCross

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Last week, Kognitio announced its merger with WhiteCross, with the new company to retain the Kognitio name. What does this mean and why is it important?

First, who is Kognitio? And, for those of you that don’t assiduously read my articles, a recap on WhiteCross.

Kognitio, like WhiteCross, is a British company (though both have non-UK customers). However, unlike WhiteCross, Kognitio does not sell products per se (although it does use its own in-house developed tools in its projects) but specialises in consultancy and managed projects – especially large, complex data migration projects. For example, it is a major player (probably the largest independent supplier in the UK) for platform rationalisation in the insurance space.

WhiteCross, on the other hand, is a long established data warehousing vendor. Historically, WhiteCross was a data appliance supplier; that is, it provided integrated hardware and software. However, it has now ported its database onto blade servers and Linux and it now refers to its product WX2 (WX two) as a virtual appliance in that no proprietary hardware is involved but it still provides comparable performance to the likes of Teradata and Netezza.

In so far as performance is involved, all three of these vendors can point to benchmarks where it outperforms the others (it all depends on the queries you want to run and the data sets they will run on), so they can broadly be treated as comparable, with the exception that Netezza and WX2 cost a lot less than Teradata, and that WX2, as I have already noted, does not require any proprietary hardware – which seem like pretty good reasons to consider it seriously.

As far as the merger is concerned, perhaps the most important benefit, to both companies, is that each has a blue chip client base; but, as separate companies, Kognitio and WhiteCross were each relatively small, which raised obvious question marks. The merged company has some 60 staff, has no debt, has revenues approaching £8m per annum, is profitable and is backed by Geoff Squire (of Oracle fame), who is non-executive chairman and a major shareholder.

There are other synergies: each component of the new company can leverage the other’s customer base; the data migration skills of Kognitio will augment data warehousing; both previous companies have experience with hosted and managed environments; and both have an emphasis on vertical sector marketing. Indeed, this last point is worth expanding on. Along with WX2, WhiteCross has a number of vertical analytic packages, for example for Telcos and Web analytics, and the company plans to expand the areas in which such solutions are offered.

From a data warehousing perspective, I think WX2 needed this. While a potential competitor to the likes of Netezza, it has been the latter that has been able to grab the headlines. This merger provides the company with new resources and the ability to more aggressively target the market. WX2 deserves to be considered as up there with the leaders in this space; this merger could just provide the momentum that the company needs to wake the market up to that fact.