Cognos adds to Web services pool

Cognos Inc. is jumping into the Web services fray with Monday’s announcement of Cognos Web Services.

This integration platform extends Cognos Series 7 business intelligence (BI) to other applications and environments.

Using XML and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), the toolkit will allow enterprises to integrate Cognos into Web, vertical market and wireless applications, according to the company. It takes information from Cognos services and translates it to XML, then another translator is put on top of the XML to bring Cognos to other applications.

Colin Saravanamuttoo, product marketing manager, for Cognos in Ottawa, said the product started as a mobile application project that was extended.

“Wireless and Web services often go hand in hand. Everyone wants to have wireless play,” he said. “The wireless side is always of great interest, but not the greatest uptake.”

People wanted to extend Cognos services to other applications, according to Saravanamuttoo. Cognos’ research and development team was looking at ways to solve this business problem, and came up with a Web services offering as the best solution.

He stressed that this toolkit is using industry standards so it does not require people to learn new skills in order to use it.

In addition, Cognos will team with Macromedia to combine Cognos Web services with Macromedia Inc.’s Flash to provide responsive, “desktop-like” applications for delivering customized BI visualizations and reports.

Companies will be able to integrate reporting capabilities from Cognos, as opposed to developing reporting functionality from the ground up, into an existing application, Saravanamuttoo said.

“It’s all about taking information from many different sources and linking it all together…extending business intelligence throughout the organization, putting business intelligence on as many desks as possible,” Saravanamuttoo said. “If you can pick and choose the functionality you need and embed it in an existing application…you’re going to have a much greater opportunity for people to use business intelligence. You will have greater uptake because it is so seamless.”

Cognos Web Services will support Unix and Microsoft platforms. It will also give users the ability to extend Cognos capabilities into .Net and J2EE.

The product allows for content from a Cognos application to be displayed in a custom fashion, within an existing UI. BI functionality can then be added to existing portals, the company said.

-With files from IDG News Service