Cognos has launched Cognos 8 BI v3 which includes new and enhanced BI user capabilities and advances in its SOA-based enterprise-class platform.
These new developments are designed to efficiently provide organisations with more targeted performance information across a broader and more diverse range of decision-makers, with extended modelling and administration capabilities to simplify deployment and maintenance for administrators.
David McWilliam, MD of Cognos SA, says: "These key advancements will help organisations see a greater return on their BI investments, especially as they expand their community of Cognos BI users. Customers will be able to improve overall business performance by enabling diverse users- from front-line business personnel to financial analysts to executives – to receive personalised, relevant information where, when and how they need it. Users across the organisation can make better, more informed decisions, and IT can more easily deploy and manage their BI solutions."
According to the Goldman Sachs Group's latest IT Spending Survey, the business intelligence software category "remains a top priority among our respondents for the upcoming 12 months. It is a testament to the fact that enterprises, through increasing adoption of enterprise resource planning tools, have accumulated vast amounts of data and are now looking for tools to enable them to improve their decision-making processes on the basis of that data."
Cognos 8 BI v3 is the third major release of Cognos' business intelligence flagship that was introduced in 2005. It addresses the needs of large enterprises and mid-market organisations alike as they capitalise on their ERP investments and turn data into actionable, relevant performance information for improved decision-making across industries.
New highly-targeted information delivery and improved analysis capabilities let knowledge workers, ranging from front-line managers to executives, receive strategic business information where, when and how they need it to make better decisions. New deployment and administration advances also make it easier for IT administrators to deploy and manage their performance management environment, while growing their user communities.
The new user capabilities of Cognos 8 BI v3 that deliver more targeted information to more user communities include:
* Express Authoring Mode – Provides a self-service, streamlined, purpose-built reporting interface for finance and business analysts to access financial and operational data sources and create financial, statement style reports. Optimised to support cross tabulations, Express Authoring gives these users the simplified environment required to easily create and publish these reports using consistent information from their enterprise BI platform.
* Business Driven Modelling with New Transformer Capabilities – Provides business groups with the ability to easily create and manage their own perspectives of performance information by creating new OLAP cubes with the consistent information in their enterprise BI platform. Business analysts, for example, can use Cognos 8 BI to construct smaller, faster data sets of very specific, relevant line of business performance information for more targeted exploration, analysis and faster decision-making. This capability satisfies the unique requirements of line of business workers while leveraging existing IT investments and retaining IT oversight on all user community information.
* Scorecard Portlets – Through Cognos Connection, the BI portal-based dashboard, business users and executives can now save time by accessing all of their organisation's relevant strategy management, scorecard information and diagrams in one comprehensive, at-a-glance view. This capability helps organisations efficiently provide more visibility into company strategy to ensure cross-functional alignment through execution.
* Briefing Books – Briefing books help busy IT administrators or line of business users address special requests from senior management for a comprehensive view of performance information. Professional authors can combine different styles and formats within a single report, making it easy for executives to navigate and print multi-style, multi-page reports that contain related, critical business information.
* Self-service Personal Alerts – Business users can create their own timely personalised alerts for scheduled reports, controlling when and how they receive critical performance information relevant to their specific area of responsibility. This capability personalises and streamlines the reporting experience for end users and frees IT from having to deliver specialised reports on demand.
Underpinning this broad set of BI user capabilities are core advances in the Cognos 8 open, enterprise-class platform. Proven best practices are built directly into the modelling environment, helping data modellers more efficiently deliver performance information to the business. As well, the central, web-based administration capabilities now provide a more holistic view of the overall system activities and their status, enabling Cognos 8 BI administrators to more easily and proactively manage and maintain their deployments. With a metrics-driven management approach, administrators can meet their business Service Level Agreements, as their user communities grow.
New components of the Cognos 8 enterprise-class platform that ease deployment and management include:
* Model Advisor: Lets novice or advanced data modellers reduce the time and effort required to build high-quality models for delivering timely information to the business. They can leverage Cognos modelling best-practices to guide the model development from initial design or diagnose issues in the model where improvements can be made.
* Snapshot of System Health: A key enterprise management capability that gives administrators a single, consolidated view into all the information they need to quickly understand the status of the entire system environment. They can address potential problem areas before they become issues for end users and easily monitor all BI deployments to quickly obtain status of all servers, server groups, dispatchers, and services. Metrics can also be exposed to systems such as IBM Tivoli to tie into overall enterprise application monitoring activities.
* Proactive Administration: Administrators can now view any number of system metrics and set thresholds to monitor them. With the thresholds, administrators can be alerted when a metric is starting to trend down or up and requires attention. These capabilities ease the burden on administrators as deployments scale and system complexity increases, ensuring they are able to exceed service level agreements with the business by addressing issues before they impact users. Priority can be given to critical processes to ensure consistent service delivery.
* Upgrade Manager: This feature helps IT administrators improve responsiveness to the business by streamlining the process of introducing technology changes such as upgrades or system changes. It provides the means to test, compare and summarise report results between two parallel environments. This reduces the cost and effort associated with upgrading to new capabilities or switching to the latest version of a database.