Business intelligence software company SAS Institute Inc. is boasting that the latest rollout of its suite will ease some of the pains for end users who need to run analytics applications but are put off by their complexity.

At the recent SAS Users Group International (SUGI) meeting in Seattle, the Cary, N.C.-based vendor announced SAS 9.1, a suite of integration and reporting tools that comes with a new, easier-to-use front end that supports specific business roles in a company. In addition, the new release – which has a new client and wizards – will deliver business intelligence capabilities to as many as 80 per cent of a customer’s employees, SAS said. According to Eleanor Taylor, manager of business intelligence strategy at SAS, Version 9.1 is aimed directly at decision-makers in a company. SAS has embedded in the suite a metadata layer that will filter out irrelevant data and present to the end user only the information needed, she said. There will also be embedded business rules. That way, if there is, for instance, a discrepancy in revenue in a sales report, an end user can immediately drill down and see how the different calculations were reached.

IBM taps Cognos to solidify BI direction

IBM Corp. and Cognos Inc. have unveiled a joint development agreement designed to provide Big Blue’s products and services with a tighter framework for business intelligence and financial management, and integrated planning.

As part of the alliance, IBM will resell Cognos products and services with a watchful eye toward embedding the BI vendor’s products into vertical solutions or those focused on business processes, said Larry Gosselin, alliances executive for IBM Business Consulting Services in White Plains, N.Y. In addition to the four existing vertical offerings from IBM and Ottawa-based Cognos, including financial services, insurance, education and telecommunications, Gosselin said, a few more with minor modifications should be in place by “the next quarter or two.” IBM products pegged to take advantage of the Cognos partnership include IBM WebSphere, IBM WebSphere Portal software, IBM DB2, DB2 Warehouse Manager, and DB2 OLAP Server.

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