Cognos 8 Highlights Simplicity

Cognos on Wednesday launched Cognos 8 Business Intelligence at simultaneous events across the globe. The latest version is based on the Web services-based service-oriented architecture (SOA) introduced with Cognos ReportNet in 2003. Version 8 is available immediately as a controlled release, and is expected for release to the general public in November. The focus for the announcement events was simplicity--and capturing a common view of all data to disperse throughout the company. "The time for struggling with complex technology is over," said Rob Ashe, president and CEO. "Today, for BI, the rules have changed." Ashe explained that all businesses share two major challenges: data delivery to the people who can use it to drive performance, and the need to drive governance (transparency and accountability). "We're at the intersection of those two challenges right now. I see tremendous successes from our customers, but I see and aspiration to do more." Companies want a single product, not a collection of tools, according to Ashe, and analysts agreed. In the past, many purchases were made within individual departments, said Howard Dresner, vice president and Gartner fellow. "Large enterprises are starting to realize this is a huge inhibitor for them." When one division wants to send information to another, it is usually done through Excel. That risks having versions with missing or inaccurate information. "It's like the telephone game. You start with one message and by the time you get to the other end it's all mangled," Dresner said. Standardization is the easy part--the hard part is telling employees they can't use the tools they've grown comfortable with. Cognos 8 solves both these issues, according to the company. First, it provides customers with a single, trusted place for all relevant data and a complete, consistent view of any business issue or driver. It is just one product based on SOA, not a suite. Second, employees can build reports within Excel, but when it is sent to other people there is only one version distributed, even across the global enterprise where language and currencies are automatically altered. CEOs are asking questions that cross multiple domains, according to Dresner. "BI permeates everything, so everyone within the enterprise and beyond has useful information to empower them." Awareness of BI is very high in businesses of all sizes, but penetration is low, opening the door for market opportunity, he said. "We think it will be a better year for BI." Related articles: Cognos Faces Forward
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