Cognos, an IBM company and a provider of business intelligence and performance management solutions, has announced the availability of IBM Cognos TM1 9.4, an enhanced version of its performance management solution for enterprise and mid-market organisations.

The latest version of IBM Cognos TM1 9.4 features enhanced intuitive analysis and reporting capabilities, higher levels of compliance and software standardisation, and integration with IBM Cognos 8 BI. Based on a patented, 64-bit, in-memory multi-dimensional OLAP server, Cognos TM1 gives users real-time insight into the impact of their financial performance management activities including planning, budgeting, forecasting, and consolidation.
Powered by the TM1 analytics engine, IBM Cognos TM1 9.4 enables strategic analysis of financial, transactional, operational and other large-volume business data, allowing users to see sophisticated views of mission-critical information. As a result, users can perform 360-degree analytics, easily spotting trends that can optimise budgeting, planning, reporting, and forecasting processes and outcomes. TM1 9.4 also includes enhanced administration features, dramatic usability improvements for Excel and Web users, and compliance with Vista and Office 2007.
One of TM1's most significant new features is "Active Forms", which provide a number of new or updated capabilities for both power users and end-users. These include reports with asymmetrical drill-down; parameter-driven row definition; intuitive style-based report formatting; an identical user experience in both thick or thin client; and server-side zero suppression for improving end-user responsiveness. These functions are valuable for a fully interactive environment that innovates on TM1's historical strength in Excel-based application authoring.
Other TM1 9.4 updates include:
* Enterprise-ready Web deployment: New functionality provides maintenance-free reporting and input template creation that works both in the Excel and Web environments. IBM Cognos TM1 Executive Viewer has moved to an XML format for view definition and rendering, thus providing an easy way to create programmatic maintenance and deployment routines.
* SOX compliance: Two new features improve product compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley-related regulations for GRC (governance, risk and compliance). A new logging facility captures all non-data maintenance activity for comprehensive audit capabilities. The IBM Cognos TM1 audit log tracks who changes your metadata, and when it was changed. This includes instances such as adding elements to a dimension, changing parentage of elements, adding or deleting public subsets, or changes to your rules or processes.
* Global Support – Fully Unicode-compliant, TM1 9.4 supports expanded string lengths beyond the previous limit of 255 characters. Two new languages – simplified Chinese and Japanese – have also been introduced.
"Business users and executives at both large and mid-size enterprises need to keep track of complicated data in real-time, and then be able to leverage it based on their goals and objectives," says Doug Barton, vice-president, product marketing, Cognos, an IBM company. "The newest version of IBM Cognos TM1 arms these users with the most powerful and actionable data to drive improved performance across the organisation."
For mid-size organisations, a mid-market version is available with all the capabilities of the TM1 9.4 solution. Says David McWilliam, MD of Cognos South Africa, an IBM company: "The IBM Cognos TM1 MidMarket Edition is a cost-effective alternative to spreadsheets and offers an affordable, single, web-based solution with a range of new options for information analysis, presentation and report delivery."
Since minimal IT support is needed for installation and setup, the demand on overstretched IT resources in greatly reduced. As a result, end users can develop performance management solutions without having technical skills. The IBM Cognos TM1 MidMarket Edition also provides role-based security and a clear audit trail to facilitate accountability and accuracy within your organisation.