Given the uncertain economic times, vendors are realizing just how important product integration has become. Cognos Inc. is no different, and its announcement of the release of Series 7 addresses that very concern.

Series 7, the Ottawa-based company’s flagship business intelligence (BI) solution, is now fully integrated with the company’s Impromptu Web reports, PowerPlay and Query, according to company officials.

Integration aside, Anil Dilwari said the three main improvements in the release include the enterprise-ready deployment ability of Series 7, a more unified user experience and comprehensive information delivery. But, “the new thrust for Series 7 is NoticeCast, an event detection (tool) for BI,” said the product and marketing manager at Cognos in Ottawa.

Using Series 7, clients will have greater access to business performance and monitoring tools while corporate users can better manage supply chain activity, sales and financial performance and customer relationships, according to Cognos.

Dilwari said a common Web portal is also included in version 7.

BI has become a hot buzzword in IT and, besides Cognos, the list of players includes Hyperion, IBM Corp. and Oracle Corp. The former is well known for its Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) and financial planning solutions. However, what has been lacking is a complete offering, something one analyst said Cognos is now addressing.

“Cognos is really the only business intelligence player that offers the full spectrum of business intelligence functions,” said Robert Mattson, vice-president of research at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia.

Mattson said Series 7 has gone a long way in facilitating integration, but added, “There still are some integration issues because you can’t really become fully integrated. They’ve (Cognos) come a long way to make these products more integrated.”

He said the market overall is currently in a trend toward product integration and called the event detection a “standard feature.”

Cognos Series 7 supports a variety of platforms including Solaris, HP-UX, Windows NT, 2000, 95, 98 and ME. The company is on the Web at

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