Integrated analytics the hallmark of Cognos 8

Cognos Inc. will launch this week the latest update to its business intelligence (BI) software. Cognos 8 Business Intelligence fuses all of its analytics and reporting tools into one application, according to the Ottawa-based BI software vendor.

The Cognos 8 Business Intelligence product – officially shipping in November – brings together Cognos products including ReportNet, Metrics Manager, PowerPlay, DecisionStream and NoticeCast.

Cognos 8 essentially replaces a software suite with a single application, which enables enterprises to standardize their software environment within a Web-based architecture, said Scott Lawrence, director, product marketing, Cognos. Lawrence told ITWorld Canada that end users would still be able to license only the functionality they need.

The tool adds the ability to report against multidimensional online analytical processing (OLAP) data. The new features also include updated query and improved self-service reporting tools, dashboards, actionable scorecards, and analysis and event management capabilities that can be accessed via a single Web-based interface, Lawrence said.

A key feature of the new release is that it features a single query engine and single metadata layer to ensure consistent results against any data, Lawrence said.

“Enterprises are looking to simplify the technologies that they’re implementing,” Lawrence said. “As you increase the complexity of the environment, the implementation of BI becomes more difficult…so they’re trying to simplify that and offload some of that difficulty.”

For example, he said, the event management and process integration functionality can notify users, in real-time, of key operational or performance events with related BI content via email and within portals.

Software from Cognos – Canada’s biggest software firm – is used to analyze, plan and report on disparate stores of enterprise data, helping to improve decision-making. Cognos’ main rivals in this BI space include Business Objects S.A., Information Builders Inc. and SAS Institute Inc.

According to Eric Rogge, an analyst with Ventana Research Inc. in San Mateo, Calif., the latest Cognos update unifies OLAP and relational data sources – and this can assist organizations in providing BI functionality to more employees.

The primary engine of growth for BI is operational BI, Rogge said. Operational BI is a proactive type of BI that attempts to cut down the time between discovering business process problems within an IT environment and taking corrective measures. Rogge said enterprises are demanding easier methods to deploy BI information to front-line workers in applications.

The cost of Cognos 8 BI varies depending on its configuration. Cognos estimated the licensing fee for a sample deployment at US$220,000, including 150 report consumers and 15 authors, along with several other licensed roles.

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