Cognos introduces enterprise

Ottawa-based Cognos Inc., a business intelligence (BI) solutions developer, on Monday announced Cognos Metrics Manager, a tool that will allow enterprises to measure performance against business strategy.

The software allows individuals within an enterprise to access metrics that are directly linked to the corporate strategy and prioritize them, according to Cognos.

One beta tester hopes the Metrics Manager software solution will help it communicate its performance objectives clearly to the management level throughout the organization. The Atlantic Lottery Corporation Inc. recently went through a strategic planning process that resulted in the creation of performance objectives, according to Connie Desroche-Gallagher, Moncton, N.B.-based IT project manager for Atlantic Lottery.

Atlantic Lottery oversees all lottery ticket and gaming operations, except casinos, in the four Atlantic provinces.

Using Metrics Manager, Atlantic Lottery can provide its financial performance objectives to all managers with decision-making abilities across the company.

“For example, in the area the financial objectives, you are going to have your actual sales together with your target sales, so people can track them, and take corrective action if they see something is going off the rails,” Desroche-Gallagher said.

Warren Shiau, a Toronto-based research analyst with IDC Canada Ltd., said companies are beginning to use this functionality more and more, adding evaluation is a trend that software developers have recognized.

“This is one of the areas that vendors tend to be concentrating on in enterprise software, having some sort of software package that gives users the ability to evaluate organizational performance against a scorecard or whatever you want to call it,” he said.

Atlantic Lottery already uses Cognos’ Impromptu, a managed reporting solution, and PowerPlay, an online analytical processing software offering. The company was drawn to Metrics Manager because it could be fully integrated into its existing architecture, Desroche-Gallagher said.

The organization is currently in the second phase of the beta test, attempting to create its own internal demo, and described the software’s performance as “not glowing,” according to Desroche-Gallagher.

“Some of the functionality, either isn’t intuitive – so we are having a bit of difficulty getting it implemented – or there are still some bugs,” Desroche-Gallagher said.

The scorecarding software is part of the Series 7 BI solution, providing functionality such as visualizations, reports and analysis, according to Cognos. Visualization is a function that appeals to Atlantic Lottery to show its revenue objectives to its employees.

“It just a another way of more visually presenting the scorecard to the users, rather than in a document style. It’s more live. It’s more dynamic,” Desroche-Gallagher said.

Shiau believes companies are turning to this type of software because they need to improve operational efficiencies, in order to squeeze out more bottom-line profit.

“This type of software allows you to do that, because when it’s combined with an integrated set of enterprise applications, and business intelligence, and analytics, you have better visibility into where the profit is generated, where the costs are coming from. In that way, this type of software enables users to better achieve operational efficiency,” he said.

Atlantic Lottery plans on rolling out the first release of the software before the end of this year, Desroche-Gallagher said.

Metrics Manager will be available in December. More information can be found at

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