Cognos: More Than Just a Cog in IBM's Performance Management Machine

NEW YORK -- With a splashy multimedia presentation at Gotham Hall here yesterday, Cognos unveiled Cognos 8v3, the latest version of its flagship business management and performance management (PM) solution. The new product was released in conjunction with a redesigned version of the company's business intelligence (BI) solution, Cognos BI v3, and features improved capabilities that deliver more-targeted information, simplified management and deployment, and updated consulting. Ottawa-based Cognos also announced that its shareholders voted Monday to accept IBM's $5 billion acquisition offer. Cognos presented its latest release as a way to distribute more information to more users within the enterprise. To that end, the software's PM capabilities for planning, forecasting, and budgeting let users interact with BI content using familiar tools, including the BlackBerry, enterprise search engines, and Microsoft Office. At the launch event, Cognos Vice President of Product Marketing Leah MacMillan gave a demonstration of some of the key features of the new version, including "express authoring," which allows financial and business analysts to easily create reports without learning complex authoring software, and a new feature that makes documents available on smartphones and other mobile devices. That mobility feature also offers the capability to zoom in on charts. "Cognos 8v3 is really just the next stage in our journey as an innovator in performance management," said Rob Ashe, president and CEO of Cognos. "One thing we're very proud of is that performance management is in our blood." The key goals of the new version, he said, are better distribution of information, improved innovation in PM, and increased investment in blueprints. "Over the last 10 years, businesses have spent billions of dollars -- with a 'b' -- capturing data, but there's been a paucity of tools to make sense of it," says John Hagerty, vice president and research fellow at AMR Research, who spoke at the event and described a "tremendous hunger" among businesses for the type of PM capabilities Cognos offers. "Business success increasingly depends on timely decision-making based on operational and financial performance," Hagerty wrote in a recent report. "Pervasive PM is a journey that organizations can and should embark on now to empower timely, comprehensive decision-making [as well as] insight into the effect of these decisions." Cognos customer Chad Erman, BI lead for Texas-based Southwestern Energy, was effusive about the new version at the event. He said the software's capability "allows IT to be proactive rather than reactive. We don't have to be run ragged all the time, because users can make their own decisions." According to Erman, a report that used to take a four-person team a full 40-hour week to produce can now be created with Cognos 8v3 "in two seconds." Key features of the new business intelligence release include:
  • Express authoring mode;
  • scorecard portlets that save time by accessing strategy management information in one at-a-glance view;
  • briefing books that allow IT administrators to address requests from senior management; and
  • personal alerts for scheduling reports.
Related articles:
IBM Acquires Cognos The $5 billion deal marks ongoing consolidation in the Tier One business intelligence market; a "significant change" in IBM's direction, one analyst notes. Cognos To Purchase Applix The $339 million acquisition is the latest example of the convergence of business intelligence and performance management. Cognos Brings BI to Excel The business intelligence vendor adds search and analysis capabilities for business users of Excel; more vendors will follow, according to one industry analyst. Gartner Releases Its BI Magic Quadrant The analyst firm expects the business intelligence market to experience sustained growth as the technology includes more users within an organization. Cognos Performs For Businesses With a new acquisition and fresh features, Cognos aims to improve its performance management platform. Cognos 8 Highlights Simplicity The new release lets all departments access data from a single SOA-based platform and lets users send single-version reports, despite geography.
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