Cognos tightens planning software integration

Analytics and reporting software vendor Cognos Inc. released the latest version of its Enterprise Planning Series suite on Tuesday, boosting the integration between Cognos’ flagship applications and its newer additions based on technology the company picked up in its acquisition last year of Adaytum Inc.

Cognos, in Ottawa, released last year a branded version of Adaytum’s software, but Tuesday’s Enterprise Planning Series 7.2 release is the first edition to fully connect Cognos Consolidation (formerly called Cognos Financial) with the Adaytum-based Cognos Enterprise Planning software. One customer, Murray Inc. Financial Systems Manager Rose Melillo, said the difference between the early integration and that offered in the 7.2 release is “night and day.”

“Now it’s really useable,” Melillo said. “For someone like us, with (Cognos Consolidation) set up, we did not want to reinvent the wheel over on the planning side. Now we can pull up Consolidation information and push small parts of that out to planning, so we can run real-time what-if scenarios, which are wonderful.”

Murray is a Brentwood, Tenn.-based maker of lawnmowers, snowblowers and other consumer products. The company has used Cognos’ financial reporting software for several years, and has helped the business cut its monthly financial closing time from two weeks to three days, Melillo said. What Murray didn’t have until now was the real-time ability to examine the effects of changing sales forecasts on its bottom line.

“We were having a hard time piecing out, ‘What if we were going to sell six per cent more riders, what will that do to our production and our estimates?'” Melillo said. “It’s something people are begging to get to, to figure out how they’re doing and to see how things change from the forecasts based on our actual figures.”

Cognos’ Enterprise Planning Series is one of several software suites in the company’s portfolio. In addition to tighter links among products within the suite, the new version adds interoperability with other Cognos products, including its ReportNet and PowerPlay business intelligence, and its Metrics Manager scorecarding tool. Version 7.2 also adds to the Enterprise Planning Series a link to the single sign-on system found throughout Cognos’ products.

Pricing for Cognos’ Enterprise Planning Series varies by configuration, but a 50-user license starts at around US$75,000, according to a company spokesperson. Version 7.2 will be available worldwide, and shipments to customers on maintenance plans begins Tuesday.

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