Cognos shareholders yesterday gave the nod to IBM's proposal to acquire the Ottawa-based business intelligence vendor for $5 billion. Today Cognos launched a third and major upgrade of its business intelligence and performance management system, Cognos 8, version 3. It's a big week for Cognos, but what will it mean for customers? On the bright side, analysts don't predict that this new marriage will get off to rocky start. \n MORE ON BI\n \n The Changing BI Landscape\n \n Cognos Acquires Applix\n \n\nNo announcements about the IBM-Cognos road map can be made until the deal wins final legal approval in Canada; that's being sought tomorrow, according to a company press release. Following final approval, end users can expect to start hearing more on integration plans and how the various products and services will fit together, says Helena Schwenk, senior analyst at IT consultancy Ovum. \n\nHowever, she expects the integration of IBM and Cognos to go more smoothly than it did for the other two major BI mergers last year, \nSAP-Business Objects and Oracle-Hyperion. Cognos is a natural complement\u2014rather than an overlap\u2014for IBM, she says, adding, "Cognos has a lot of tools and technology that complements IBM, but it also has products that are not as familiar territory." \n\nAs for the Cognos new products announced today, the third version of Cognos 8 represents a major overhaul to the array of products, features and functionality in the Cognos 8 services and platform, such as core BI, search, budgeting, planning, forecasting and consolidation capabilities. This new version seeks to deliver targeted information to a broader set of users in both enterprises and midsize companies. For example, it includes a new portal-based dashboard, as well as a self-service reporting interface for business and financial analysts who want to tap financial and operational data sources and create statement-style reports. \n\nCognos 8 users may want to note that the version 3 upgrade does not include the company's entire portfolio. For example, the company's most popular OLAP tool, PowerPlay 7, has not moved to Cognos 8. \n\nThe company also has plans to integrate Applix, which it acquired in September 2007, with the Cognos 8 platform. \n\nThe integration of Cognos's own product lines may make the integration with IBM smoother, says Schwenk. "Cognos will obviously hope that the bulk of PowerPlay and Applix integration work is finished before the IBM acquisition completes," she says.