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Cognos (COGN), the business intelligence software company, is in a curious position. Cognos's rivals are getting acquired by big players like Oracle (ORCL)and SAP AG (SAP). And the software industry is moving toward software as a service (SaaS) — think Salesforce.com and NetSuite.com. So where does that leave Cognos? The BI software provider has to get a better feel for SaaS, managed services and technology partners. Fast. Cognos's CEO is doing exactly that. Here's how.

I noticed Wednesday morning that Cognos CEO Rob Ashe has joined Third Brigade's board of directors. Smart move. Third Brigade is an up-and-coming security company that also has a managed services focus. Specifically, technology consultants can offer Third Brigade's security wares to their customers for a monthly subscription fee -- much in the way that you pay for cable or telephone service. In fact, Third Brigade in September expanded its partner program to support service providers.

Ashe's decision to join Third Brigade's board should be a win-win. Third Brigade gains valuable insights from a CEO who knows how to compete with some of the world's largest technology companies. And Ashe gains valuable perspective on the managed services and SaaS trends -- two of the biggest waves in today's software industry. Cognos can only benefit from that as the company faces heightened competition from Oracle and SAP.

Source: Cognos CEO Gains Insight From New Market