Cognos tailors analytics for SAP

Cognos is launching a suite of analytics applications May 6 for SAP’s R/3 ERP platform. The software is designed to allow companies to monitor and analyse back-office data from SAP and non-SAP systems to enhance corporate performance.

Each Cognos analytic application is designed to be a building block for corporate performance management by providing a single, integrated 360 degree view of ERP data, according to company officials.

This will be the second suite of analytic applications Cognos has tailored for specific ERP systems. It already has released applications for Oracle and J.D. Edwards back office systems.

The prepackaged analytic applications for SAP will include sales, accounts receivable, general ledger, accounts payable, inventory and procurement analysis.

“Most of these companies are looking for better ways to monitor key metrics and key trends to have fact-based decision-making going forward,” said Scott Lawrence, director of Cognos’ analytic applications. “The data structure isn’t there for them to be able to do multidimensional analytics [and] it does not give them the ability to look at it in a graphical way to see and perceive changes in the organizations.”

After the transactional data from the ERP systems is moulded so that it can be used more effectively by C-level executives and others across the enterprise, it allows these executives to more effectively leverage the data to make crucial business decisions, Lawrence added.

“The sales vice-president, the inventory manager and the financial manager are all going to be working off one common vision of the company,” he said.

“If the sales vice president is trying to understand a revenue drop off that is going to spawn the whole concept of figuring out what happened, is it because customers are no longer buying products, are there specific segments, geographies that I can identify that have specific issues?”

The applications have the necessary ERP customizations already built into the solution as well as answers to 2,900 business questions, 500 known key performance indicators, 200 pre-packaged reports, Lawrence added.

Applications include intuitive graphical interface, flexible self-service reporting and analytics, historical analysis, dimensionality and drill downs, cross-functional analytics and reporting, and pre-packaged reports addressing ERP customizations.

Organizations are placing a premium on solutions that offer a low total cost of ownership and allow them to maximize their ERP investments, said Bob Moran, an analyst with the Aberdeen Group in Boston. The Cognos analytic applications for SAP R/3 provide organizations with a means to analyse and easily report on rich ERP data, he added.

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